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8 protesters arrested at Obama campaign HQ in Chicago

Protesters were arrested Monday after trying enter 130 E. Randolph home President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters.  |  Brian

Protesters were arrested Monday after trying to enter 130 E. Randolph, home of President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 16, 2012 8:08AM

The first protest arrests of the NATO Summit week came Monday morning when eight protesters attempted to rush into President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters.

Singing folk songs, more than 100 protesters joined the Catholic Worker-organized demonstration at 8 a.m. to call for an end to the war in Afghanistan and to kick off what they call a “Week Without Capitalism” outside Obama’s offices at 130 East Randolph.

They were there to make a symbolic offer for world leaders due to attend Sunday and Monday’s summit to “break bread with the community” in the Prudential Plaza outside the building, according to protest spokesman Jake Olzen, who said protesters came from 10 states for the action.

When they then tried to enter to deliver a message to Obama’s campaign, most of the protesters were blocked by security workers, but some managed to make it in via a side door, Olzen said.

Barred from taking elevators up to Obama’s offices, they instead read out a statement in the building’s lobby, decrying the U.S. and NATO for “leading the way for the militarization of the globe at the expense of human and environmental needs.”

“As people of faith and conscience, we advocate relationships and economics rooted in love: the works of mercy at a personal sacrifice, craft and worker-based co-operatives, gift and barter economies, agrarian communities, and a more simple lifestyle,” the statement said, calling for other Catholic Workers not to use their cars or buy goods or services “from which the state profits” this weekend.

Eight protesters who refused to leave the lobby “out of conscience” were then arrested by Chicago Police, Olzen said. Police confirmed that eight protesters were arrested for criminal trespass.

Olzen named them as Frank Cordaro, 61, Jessica Reznicek, 30, and Julie Brown, 34, of Iowa; Theo Koyser, 22, of Los Angeles; Sam Yergler, 27, of Champaign; Ross Eiler, 32, of Bloomington, Indiana; and Chicagoans Andrew Shantz and Chris Spicer, 29.

He said he expects them to appear before a judge Tuesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been accused of making heavy-handed preparations to handle NATO summit protesters, was asked Monday about, what could be the first of many arrests.

“The police are doing their job. The other people are having their job to express themselves. We’ll protect public safety and also public speech. Both will be achieved,” the mayor said.

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