SW Side Cinco de Mayo Parade rerouted after nearby gang-related fights, arrests, Chicago police say

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, May 6, 2024
Cinco de Mayo Parade rerouted after nearby gang-related arrests: CPD
The Chicago Cinco de Mayo Parade was rerouted Sunday in Heart of Chicago and Little Village due to nearby gang-related fights and police activity.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Cinco de Mayo Parade on Chicago's Southwest Side was rerouted on Sunday after reports of violence in the area.

The parade has a history of disruptions. From the COVID pandemic to a series of disagreements between organizers and city officials, it wasn't even held from 2018 to 2022. The parade only made its return last year.

There is still a great deal of confusion surrounding what exactly happened to disrupt the parade.

"It's nice to just come and see everybody just be together and celebrate," parade attendee Edith Ocampo said.

At a glance, Sunday's Cinco de Mayo parade was like any other. It was vibrant and colorful, with entertaining musical acts representing different parts of Mexico.

"We actually found it just walking to the National Mexican Art museum earlier," parade attendee Jennifer Vasquez said. "We asked somebody earlier. We weren't even aware it was happening."

What many parade-goers failed to notice was the behind the scenes drama that began around a half hour before the parade was supposed to take off at Noon from Cermak Road from Damen Avenue in Heart of Chicago. It was supposed to traverse a 1.2 mile route, ending at Marshall Boulevard in Little Village, just south of Douglass Park. Instead, a large fight in the area of the parade led police to issue a cancelation notice.

"The Cinco de Mayo parade has been canceled to protect the safety of all in attendance, including families and children," the notice read. "The decision, was made by in agreement with CPD's 10th District, elected officials and parade organizers."

What actually appears to have happened, according to 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, is that the parade was rerouted to avoid the police activity. The Chicago Police Department statement went out after the initial decision to cancel was reversed. The parade began late and the route was changed, running along Blue Island instead of Damen, ending near its originally intended spot.

"We want to make sure that we are always on the side of safety... initially there were discussions around cancelling the parade, because we were actually going to go through that location," Sigcho-Lopez said. "We saw a beautiful display of unity in our community. We are glad to see the parade back. We have to change last minute the route, but we continue to celebrate. We continue to celebrate without any incident."

The fights, seen in the area of Rockwell and Cermak, were gang-related, the police statement said. Multiple arrests were made, including gun arrests, police said.

"We just didn't want to escalate the situation," Sigcho-Lopez said. "The commander and violence prevention teams were on site. They continued to be on site to make sure people are safe. It's a beautiful day and we want to make sure people can celebrate."

ABC7 asked Chicago police for clarification as to what happened with the parade itself, but they declined to elaborate beyond their initial statement.

An after party at an empty lot near 25th Street and Washtenaw went on as planned.

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