CHICAGO (CBS) — A group gathered at Union Park on the Near West Side Wednesday evening for a rally and vigil against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
Even more people are expected at another rally slated for this weekend along the Magnificent Mile. Chicago Police and those with businesses in the area are hoping it ends peacefully.
As CBS 2’s Jeromnt Terry reported, a beefed-up police presence was visible along the Magnificent Mile Wednesday evening. Shoppers and visitors who continue to come downtown and those who run businesses and restaurants welcome the crowds, but not so much the boarded-up windows.
“Coming into Streeterville to see, like, a change of scenery is a little like, wow, this is happening,” said Dayjao Seymour.
Seymour is the manager of a Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, 210 E. Ohio St. He knows there is another big demonstration planned for Michigan Avenue this coming Saturday.
You can already see concrete blocks on many corners, in an attempt by the CPD to control traffic and the crowds.
“I’m always concerned about the safety of my staff and that everyone can get home safe,” Seymour said. “If we can open up, you know, we keep our doors open for the people in Streeterville.”
Earlier this month when looters hit the Mag Mile, Seymour and some of his staff were trapped inside the restaurant.
“I look out the window, and there’s just like hundreds of people like breaking into stores, and then they’re being chased like by hundreds of cops,” he said.
The hope for residents and business owners is that such a scene will not play out again.
The rally Saturday is designed to disrupt Chicago’s economy by coming to Michigan Avenue. Seymour, like many, wants to be assured Chicago Police will be able to handle whoever comes out, and distinguish between protesters and agitators.
“I just hope like police and like civilians can get along better, you know, like maybe the protest can be more peaceful, and it doesn’t have to result to looting,” Seymour said.
Police said this past weekend that they are canceling days off for officers on the day and evening watch on Saturday, Aug. 29, and the overnight watch into Sunday, Aug. 30, and placing officers on longer shifts for those times.
If you are planning to be downtown on Saturday, expect plenty of detours around the Mag Mile.