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Magnificent Mile Protests Disrupt But Don't Deter Holiday Shopping

People participate in what organizers are calling a "Black Christmas" protest on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago Thursday.
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune
TNS via Getty Images
People participate in what organizers are calling a "Black Christmas" protest on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago Thursday.

Demonstrators in Chicago are gathering in a high-end shopping district to disrupt last-minute Christmas purchases and raise attention to a 2014 police shooting.

"Protests have been continuing almost daily since the release last month of dashcam video showing a white Chicago police officer firing 16 shots into 17-year old Laquan McDonald as he tried to walk away from officers" in October 2014, NPR's David Schaper reports for our Newscast unit.

For more than a year, the department refused requests for the dashcam video to be released. Now, the officer behind the shooting has been charged with murder. Protesters have alleged that police attempted to cover up the shooting, and the Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into the Chicago police force's practices.

Through repeated protests, activists — many of whom are calling for Emanuel's resignation — hope to bring attention to Chicago's racial and economic inequalities.

"The biggest demonstration was the day after Thanksgiving on Michigan Avenue, as protesters locked arms to prevent shoppers from getting in and out of stores on one of the busiest shopping days of the year," David says.

Retailers say their Black Friday sales were significantly affected by those protests, David reports.

As of midafternoon on Thursday, the Christmas Eve protests are much smaller, he says.

Demonstrators temporarily blocked the entrance to an Apple store, but most shoppers appear "undeterred," the Associated Press reports.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.