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Marchers shut down streets in downtown Chicago to protest killing of George Floyd

“Say his name! George Floyd!” the protesters chanted.

A protest march over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis made its way through downtown Chicago May 29, 2020, eventually closing off Ida B. Wells Parkway near the beginning of the Eisenhower Expressway.
A protest march over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis made its way through downtown Chicago Friday night, eventually closing off Ida B. Wells Parkway near the beginning of the Eisenhower Expressway.
Maudlyne Ihejirika/Sun-Times

Hundreds of marchers in Chicago joined the national outrage over the killing of a black man in Minneapolis police custody, hitting the streets in protest Friday evening.

The protesters, who gathered near Millennium Park around 5 p.m., held signs that read, “Justice 4 George” and “Black lives matter” as they marched against traffic, south down Michigan Avenue.

“Say his name! George Floyd!” they chanted. They also yelled “I can’t breathe!” That’s what Floyd had said, several times, during the eight minutes a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck as he lay face-down on the street.

The protesters marched past Harold Washington Library and blocked the intersection of State Street and Ida B. Wells Parkway, then made their way west toward the start of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Tensions were high at times, especially when protesters broke through a police bicycle barricade, but things remained relatively peaceful. As of 10 p.m., Chicago police had reported no arrests.

The march and protest in Chicago occurred as protests in response to the killing of Floyd were spreading to dozens of cities across the nation, including New York City, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Houston, Floyd’s hometown.

Protesters and Chicago police officers during a march downtown Friday, May 29, 2020 over the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd.
Protesters and Chicago police officers during a march downtown Friday over the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file photo

The protests had started in Minneapolis, where Floyd died. While many of the protests have been peaceful, there have been several nights of unrest in Minneapolis, where a police precinct station was set ablaze and stores were looted.

In Atlanta on Friday, protesters smashed police cars and set one on fire.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

Chauvin also was accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Floyd as he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading that he could not breathe as Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Floyd, who was black, had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a store.

Josh Byrd was among the protesters who marched in Chicago Friday night, angered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Josh Byrd was among the protesters who marched in Chicago Friday night, angered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

Josh Byrd said he went to the protest to stand against the injustices of Floyd’s death, even though it happened two states away.

“It hurts that this keeps happening, that police can keep killing people without being held accountable,” Byrd said. “This affects us all.”

Sun-Times reporters Madeline Kenney, Maudlyne Ihejirika and Manny Ramos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hundreds of protesters cheer after hearing the pounds and taps on the glass from the prisoners inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Friday, May 29, 2020.
Hundreds of protesters cheer after hearing the pounds and taps on the glass from the prisoners inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center Friday night in the Loop.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Hundreds of protesters demanding justice for George Floyd march around in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Friday, May 29, 2020.
Hundreds of protesters demanding justice for George Floyd march around in Chicago’s River North neighborhood on Friday.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Hundreds of protesters demanding justice for George Floyd march around in the Loop on Friday, May 29, 2020.
Hundreds of protesters demanding justice for George Floyd march around in the Loop on Friday.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A portrait of George Floyd is part of the memorial for him near the site where he was arrested in Minneapolis. He died in police custody Monday night. A video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
A portrait of George Floyd is part of the memorial for him near the site where he was arrested in Minneapolis. He died in police custody Monday night. A video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
AP