12 arrested in Chicago anti-violence Labor Day protest
CHICAGO - Police arrested 12 people attempting to block traffic on the highway leading to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Monday.
According to Illinois State Police, eight men and four women were arrested, including local activist and protest leader Reverend Gregory S. Livingston.
Police used a loudspeaker to instruct protesters to leave the highway. Protesters, including Rev. Livingston, then formed a single-file line to be arrested.
More than 100 police officers from several local and state agencies were present to stop the protesters from walking on the highway.
Activist Audrey Davis, a former school teacher of Chicago, told Xinhua, "Like all protesters, I am concerned about the escalating violence in our city and in our state ... I think there's a lot of inequity in black neighborhoods compared to white ones."
The protesters' demands include more African Americans in the construction workforce in Chicago, the repurposing of closed schools, economic investment in African American neighborhoods, resources for black led anti-violence initiatives, and the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
This protest came just days before the beginning of the trial of former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, who prosecutors charged with the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. On Dec. 29, 2015, Van Dyke pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial will begin on Wednesday.
Gun violence in Chicago's poorest communities has drawn national attention for a number of years. Since September 2011, at least 174 people under the age of 17 have been killed, and another 1,665 shot, according to figures compiled by The Chicago Tribune.