Thousands of teachers, parents and supporters marched through downtown Chicago on the first day of a school strike.
The crowd Monday afternoon stretched for several blocks and was expected to swell through the early evening and into the city's rush hour. Some protesters carried signs that said "Chicago Teachers United" and "Fair Contract Now." Others waved red pom-poms and chanted. Earlier in the day, thousands of teachers picketed around neighborhood schools.
A statement from the Chicago Teachers Union said protesters gathered in front of the Chicago Board of Education planned to match to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office. Emanuel has called the strike unnecessary. Union officials say the protesters are demanding a fair contract and more resources for students.
Both sides went back to the bargaining table around midday Monday.