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Downtown Chicago reopens for cleanup in wake of widespread looting hundreds overrun Magnificent Mile

Bridges and expressways in downtown Chicago reopened on Tuesday after business owners and emergency workers headed back to the area after a night of violence and looting.  

More than 100 people were arrested after vandals damaged businesses in the area which led to the entire neighborhood being placed on lockdown, even for those who live in the area. 

Most of the trouble happened along the upscale Magnificent Mile section of the city, which is one of the most popular areas that tourists like to visit. 

On Tuesday evening, organizers from groups including Black Lives Matter and Good Kids Mad City planned a rally outside Englewood police station in Chicago to protest the police shooting of a man from the area.

Chicago Police officers were stationed all around the station with some officers keeping watch from up above.

Protesters from the organized groups claimed that they were standing in solidarity with the community but locals told the demonstrators to leave. 

‘A protest was scheduled, rumor has it they were going to bust out the police windows,’ Daryl Smith said to WGN9. 

‘No matter what they were going to do, they’re not going to antagonize our police and then go home to the North Side and Indiana. Our police are bitter and they’re beating up our little black boys, so we’re not going to have that.’ 

The half-hour-long rally featured dancing and chants disparaging Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the CPD and its budget.

On Monday night, looters were caught on camera shoving shopping bags full of stolen goods and equipment into their cars. 

Some ATM machines were also damaged and broken into, along with cash registers that were stolen. At least one bank had also been broken into. 

Videos of the vandalism showed huge crowds of people smashing their way into businesses and streaming out of the broken windows and doors with clothes and other merchandise. They loaded up vehicles, some moving slowly and deliberately, apparently not worried about being caught by police or being recorded by scores of cellphone cameras.

Vehicles drove away slowly, some leaving behind boxes of rocks that they had apparently brought to shatter the windows. 

Stores miles from downtown were also ransacked, their parking lots littered with glass and boxes that once contained television sets and other electronics. 

The civil unrest comes at the worst possible time as businesses struggle to get back on their feet after months of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic followed by more looting earlier this summer during anti-racism and police brutality protests. 

During Monday night’s rioting, 13 police officers were injured. One sergeant was hurt after being attacked with a bottle.

Thirteen officers were injured, including a sergeant who was attacked with a bottle, and at least two civilians were shot during the unrest after midnight Sunday, as hundreds overran the city’s upscale Magnificent Mile shopping district and surrounding areas with vandalism and violence, authorities said.

City officials say it is likely to be some time before things go back to normal as the cleanup continues.

On Monday night public transit was restricted in the downtown business district, stores closed, and bridges over the river were raised. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot described the criminal behavior as ‘an assault on our city’ and nothing to do with any kind of ‘organized’ protest.  

The mayor declined an offer for federal troops to be sent into the city. 

‘Again, no, we do not need federal troops in Chicago, period, full stop,’ Lightfoot said during a press conference.   

At the same news conference, Lightfoot addressed looters directly, telling them that police had collected a lot of surveillance video and other evidence that will be used to arrest and prosecute as many as possible.

‘We saw you, and we will come after you,’ she warned.

Black Lives Matter Chicago have said that those who were involved in the chaotic scenes on Monday night were protesting.

‘The mayor clearly has not learned anything since May, and she would be wise to understand that the people will keep rising up until the Chicago Police Department is abolished and our Black communities are fully invested in,’ BLM Chicago said in a statement. 

‘When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us.’

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