CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - An estimated 300 people took to the streets in the Washington Park neighborhood Friday night marching up Martin Luther King Drive to draw attention to a myriad of issues related to what they called state oppression.
They noted that it was in Washington Park that Ronald Johnson was shot and killed running from police.
Their message called for radical change.
“This is a march where we are calling and demanding for abolition of police, of prisons, of surveillance, because we don't think that is what keeps us safe,” said a woman named Page with the group Assata’s Daughters, which organized the demonstration.
The march was prompted in part by the two recent national high profile police shootings that killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and have prompted protest marches in Chicago and across the country the past week.
At one point, the marches shut down the intersection of 47th and King Drive where more speakers talked.
“Getting rid of police brutality is what we're marching for. The extra-judicial killings of people on the street needs to go,” said Sandra Kearns, who joined the march.
But in the mixed messages tonight, which included gay and transgender issues, the "Say her Name" campaign and others, demonstrators also spoke out against a proposed city ordinance that would make it a hate crime to interfere with police, firefighters or paramedics in the course of their job.
“Hate crimes legislation are supposed to protect marginalized people. Police officers are not marginalized, they are the most protected public servants in this country," said Kenisha with the Black Youth Project 100 group.
The group said abolishing the police department would free up millions of dollars that could be spent on social programs and health care.