Protesters again occupy Grant Park — and again are arrested
By Mitch Dudek, Mary Houlihan, JIM SCALZITTI AND Rosemary Sobol Staff Reporters October 22, 2011 9:40PM
Chicago Police Officers move in to arrest Occupy Chicago protesters early Sunday morning starting. Police photographed the protesters before taking them into custody. October 23, 2011 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: November 24, 2011 8:39AM
A second round of mass arrests Saturday night of Occupy Chicago protesters that rounded up about 130 people is forcing organizers to get creative as they plan their next attempt to find a new base of operations for their movement.
Police also arrested 175 people last weekend in Grant Park as protesters of Wall Street greed tried to relocate from their current home at the corner of Jackson and LaSalle.
Most protesters, charged with misdemeanor trespassing in the park after hours, were released within 24 hours. But about 10 protesters, who were arrested on consecutive weekends in Grant Park, were to spend a second night in jail and go before a judge Monday for violating bail conditions of their first arrest.
“Frankly, if we’re having problems with double arrestees, we’re going to have to get a little more creative next time we try to occupy,” said an Occupy Chicago organizer who asked not to be named and suggested dealing with federal or state authorities might be more favorable than dealing with city authorities.
The organizer said protesters may aim their sights at setting up shop outside the Thompson Center, which is run by the state, but did not know when the next attempt would be made.
In response to Occupy Chicago’s criticism, city officials said Chicago has supported the group’s right to protest, assisted with traffic and crowd control during protest marches and police have communicated daily with the group.
About 2,000 people marched to Grant Park from Jackson and LaSalle the last two Saturdays.
Ashley Bohrer, a 27-year-old graduate student at DePaul University who was arrested last weekend, felt the protest gives a voice to people who have not had a voice.
“I”m here because in a country where people have so much, it’s reprehensible for so many to have so little,” Bohrer said Sunday morning. “The minute we stop protesting, we become a part of the problem.”
Occupy Chicago protesters said they planned to march to City Hall Monday morning to show solidarity with National Nurses United, which claims at least two nurses were arrested along with protesters Saturday night. The nurses were at the park to provide medical care. Both groups are calling on the city to drop all charges against the nurses and protesters.