Police, protesters clashing at Columbus statue in Grant Park tonight

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Chicago police and a group of violent protesters clashed in Grant Park as demonstrators tried to pull down the Christopher Columbus statue Friday evening.

The situation continues to unfold at the time of this report.

Multiple officers have been injured by pepper-spray and projectiles, according to police radio traffic from the scene. The extend of those injuries as well as information about injuries to non-police, is not yet available.

This evening’s protest began peacefully in the Loop, but no one would identify themselves to police as an organizer as CPD tried to provide passage for the unpermitted march.

The situation took a sudden violent turn after police saw a group of protesters change into all-black clothing and masks around 7:15 p.m. A crowd swarmed and wrapped ropes around the Columbus statue minutes later. Still, efforts to pull the statue down have failed as of 8:15 p.m., according to police.

Video from the scene shows rocks and fireworks being thrown at officers as the peaceful protest turned suddenly violent. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown authorized specialized teams to use pepper gas to disperse the crowd at 7:50 p.m.

This story is developing…

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