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Magnificent Mile protests disrupt but don't deter holiday shopping

People participate in what organizers are calling a
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

Demonstrators in Chicago gathered 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" last October, NPR's David Schaper reported.

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," Schaper said.

Retailers say their Black Friday sales were significantly affected by those protests, Schaper reported.

As of mid-afternoon on Thursday, the Christmas Eve protests were much smaller, he said.

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

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