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Delete your account': Mayor Emanuel and Gov. Rauner feud on Twitter over Chicago protest

Thousands of activists march onto Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago to protest the violence in the city on Saturday. Anti-violence protesters aimed to shut down the northbound lanes of the major interstate in an effort to press public officials to address common sense gun laws, joblessness and access to quality education. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)

After a protest march on a major highway in Chicago shut down traffic over the weekend, the city's mayor and the state's governor publicly argued about the method of the protest and the city's involvement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Protesters shut down Dan Ryan Expressway on Saturday with an anti-violence march, hoping to raise awareness and put pressure on the city government to do more to curb violence in Chicago.

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said he supported the cause behind the protests, but vehemently disagreed with the city's decision to allow it and to close all but two inbound lanes of the heavily trafficked highway.

"I support the right of every American to protest peacefully, and I support the goal of the protest: bringing attention to the failure, the failure of government in Chicago to reduce crime, to bring down the taxes and create more jobs," Rauner said. "I agree with all that. But to be clear, no one should go onto an interstate expressway."

More about the protests

The protests were organized by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who said he intended for the protest to shut down the highway and draw attention to crime, joblessness and poverty in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Police tried to offer alternative locations for the protest, such as a neighborhood street, and even threatened arrests in an attempt to prevent the demonstration.

When the protest began Saturday morning, marchers took up half the lanes while traffic moved through two other lanes that were blocked off by authorities. Eventually, however, protesters squeezed the traffic and pressed in toward the police barricades so much that officers shut down the highway fully.

The entire expressway was shut down for about an hour. No arrests were reported.

Rauner and Emanuel go back and forth

Gov. Rauner was not pleased with the outcome.

"This is unacceptable," Rauner tweeted Saturday. "We had clear parameters that allowed the protesters to be heard while respecting law and order. Instead, they chose instead to cause chaos."

Rauner also criticized Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for supporting the protesters' decision to use the highway for their march.

"I'm disappointed in the mayor," Rauner tweeted. "I am calling on the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos. I will work with him in good faith and urge him to do his job so that the people of Chicago feel safe."

Emanuel's response was short and simple: "It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account," the mayor replied to Rauner.

Chicago violence improving?

Although the protests were focused on getting the city government to do more to reduce violent crime, the number of violent crimes has been trending downward in Chicago for more than a year.

According to the Sun-Times, police said violence has declined for 16 consecutive months, and there were 79 fewer murders and 270 fewer shootings in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same time period of 2017.


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