Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in Chicago to voice their opposition to rising gas prices, as Chicago continues to suffer a massive spike in prices.
Organizers say the protests are the largest in recent memory and the latest sign of rising anger about the country’s soaring gas prices.
The protests have been organized by the Chicago Gas and Electric Employees International Union Local 1555, which represents more than 100,000 workers.
The union says more than 1.5 million members in the city have signed on to an online petition to pressure Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make an emergency increase to the city’s gas prices this weekend.
Organizer James Pasternak says the gas spike has led to a major surge in homelessness.
He says the city has become the largest city in the U.S. with the highest percentage of homeless people.
Pasternap says people are sleeping in parks and parksides because they don’t have anywhere to go.
He said Chicago’s homelessness has risen to an estimated 300,000 people and that’s not enough.
The city’s mayor is expected to make a decision Friday on the gas surge, but protesters say they want Emanuel to step in and stop it.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Emanuel has said he will approve an increase in gas prices of 1 cent per gallon.
Pakenham said that’s too low and would hurt the city as a whole.
He added that Emanuel would have to approve the price increase before it could go into effect.
Pakenham says he’s prepared to push the gas increase further, and says the cost of living in Chicago has doubled.
He also says Chicago is experiencing the worst housing crisis in its history.
“It’s a crisis that we have to tackle,” Pakenam said.
“We have a massive shortage of affordable housing.”