Anti-gun protesters partly block major Chicago freeway

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(Reuters) – Hundreds of protesters calling for an end to gun violence in Chicago partially shut down a major freeway in the city on Saturday, restricting traffic as they demanded lawmakers and members of the community do more to stop the bloodshed.

Chanting slogans including “Black Lives Matter!” and “Shut It Down!”, hundreds of demonstrators marched along two of the freeway’s four lanes watched by lines of police. Some protesters carried crosses.

Illinois State Police said agreement was reached with organizers of the protest to allow the demonstrators restricted access to Interstate 94, known as the Dan Ryan Expressway, “to march peacefully for their cause.”

Chicago leaders have long struggled to bring down its high murder rate. Even though homicides fell 16 percent last year, the third largest U.S. city still ranked No. 1 in murders, with more than the combined total for New York and Los Angeles, the two largest cities.

“This is not about just a march,” one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest, Father Michael Pfleger, told a news conference this week. “This is not about just an interruption of traffic. This is about the violence in the city of Chicago.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the demonstration, saying on Friday that it was important to raise awareness.

Reporting by Miesha Miller in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Franklin Paul

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