Chicago Black Lives Matter, Back the Blue protests collide as tensions continue to run high

Chicago Columbus statues removed by Mayor Lightfoot as protests persist

ByAlexis McAdams WLS logo
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Chicago Black Lives Matter, Back the Blue protests collide as tensions continue to run high
Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue protesters collided Saturday as tensions continue to run high in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dueling rallies were held Saturday in Chicago, one supporting police, the other calling for the city to defund the police department.

Hundreds of protesters met in Grant Park, calling for change. They demanded the city defund the Chicago Police Department.

"We are concerned that the funding of the police is given more of the attention than the people in general," one protester said.

The march started at Grant Park and roamed throughout the city.

Police lined the streets, helping to block off traffic, as the demonstration continued for miles.

"We do not care if they are here or not," the protester said. "We are non-violent; there is no reason to be intimidated."

Earlier in the day, a Back the Blue protest was held to support law enforcement.

RELATED: Chicago Christopher Columbus statues in Grant Park, Little Italy removed by city; some aldermen blindsided, others applauding decision

Chicago's two Christopher Columbus statues were taken down overnight, leaving opinion sharply divided among residents. THe mayor said they were removed for public safety reasons.

Those who participated called on the community to protect the police.

"We have to draw the blue line in the sand and support our cops," one woman said.

Black Lives Matter protesters showed up to the rally, too.

Tensions throughout the city continue to run high.

Mayor Lori Lighftoot ordered the removal of two Christopher Columbus statues early Friday morning, which were at the center of earlier protests. Activists across the country are denouncing Columbus for his treatment of indigenous people.

Lightfoot said in a statement the statues were only "temporarily" removed to protect both protesters and police.

"That just gives me chills, temporary," a protester said Saturday. "My emotions, you are not serious about people's feelings."

Chicago police said there were no major incident Saturday, but they will continue to patrol as protests are planned throughout the weekend.