After a Week of Brutal Police Attacks and Arrests, Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets



Thousands of protesters poured into downtown Chicago on May 29 and 30, the first weekend after the brutal police murder of George Floyd. Late Saturday night, May 30, the police attacked people viciously—beating and arresting large numbers of protesters. Following this there were scenes of looting along the posh downtown shopping area known as the “Magnificent Mile” and in the neighborhoods of the oppressed. The newly elected Black, lesbian Democratic mayor came down hard. She ordered a 9 pm-6 am curfew, called in the National Guard and locked down the entire downtown. The lockdown included raising bridges, shutting down all public transportation into downtown, closing freeway exits and streets, and generally making it impossible for protesters to get into the heart of the city where people of all nationalities come together in this segregated city.

Protests didn’t stop, but instead of massive downtown convergences of people from all over the city, protests, some of them of thousands of people, took place in neighborhoods all over the city, including on the predominantly Black South and West Sides, in neighborhoods of Latinos and in neighborhoods that are predominantly white on the North Side and also in many suburbs. As of Sunday, June 7, 3,000 people had been arrested since the protests began.

Protesters at Union Park, Chicago observe 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the length of time the cop had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

On Saturday, June 6, a massive crowd estimated at 20,000-30,000 gathered in Union Park on Chicago’s near West Side—the largest protest to date. The crowd was overwhelmingly young people of all nationalities, races and genders. They carried homemade signs, many written on pieces of cardboard boxes saying “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” “Fuck the Police,” “Defund the Police,” also some “White Silence is Violence,” and Latinos with signs expressing Latino/Black solidarity in response to recent attacks on Blacks in Latinx communities.

Chicago Revolution Club marches with 30,000 on June 6 protesting the murder of George Floyd.

The Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism set up at a key entrance to the park. It was a beautiful scene welcoming people as they arrived. The club had a large banner that said: “This System Can’t Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown,” and club members in uniform passed out thousands of flyers and posters (saying “We Say No More. We Want Revolution Nothing Less”, and stickers, and staffed a table with revolutionary literature as people poured into the park. Refuse Fascism had two banners, one a 20-foot “Trump/Pence Out Now” banner. They also passed out signs, flyers and stickers to the crowd. The icing on the cake was 10 percussionists from Degenerate Artists Against Fascism who kept up the beat and further uplifted what was really a cool scene.

Refuse Fascism carrying Trump/Pence OUTNOW banner in the march, June 6.

We could not hear the speakers but heard that the rally focused on issues of policy reform. At one point we all, the Revolution Club, Refuse Fascism and all the drummers, took off through the back of the park, getting a positive response from the crowd. After the rally, people surged into the street and marched for several miles, taking up all lanes in an unbroken mass that went for 1.5 miles. It was very spirited and determined. “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” and “Black Lives Matter” rang out for much of the march. The Revolution Club led many chants that were taken up enthusiastically by the crowd. Among them: “1, 2, 3, 4 Slavery, Genocide and War; 5, 6, 7, 8, America was Never Great,” “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” “Say his name!” (the crowd would shout “George Floyd!”), “Say her name!” (the response, “Breonna Taylor!,”) “Fuck Donald Trump,” and more. (See the Chicago Revolution Club Twitter for videos.) At a major intersection people took a knee for George Floyd. The march ended at a large field where thousands relaxed on the grass during a final rally. The club member who led many of the chants, and has been on the ground at protests all week, said lots of people were coming up to him and asking him, “When is the next protest?” On Monday the curfew was lifted and downtown was reopened, but to date no one has called for a protest downtown. Today the Revolution Club decided to issue a call for people to pour into downtown on Saturday, June 13, at 3 pm.



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