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CHICAGO (CBS) — Those protests that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge and led to hundreds of arrests in New York City over the weekend are taking place in several other cities, including Chicago.
But as WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, in Chicago, the protests have been small-scale and orderly.
The “Occupy Chicago” protesters have been camped out in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at LaSalle and Quincy streets for 11 days. They beat their drums and chant their slogans against bank bailouts, austerity programs and corporate greed.
PHOTOS: Occupy Chicago
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports.
Sam Abrahamson, a student at DePaul University, is among the protesters. He says the group receives a polite reception from those going to work in the financial district.
“I see more smiles and nods, thumbs up, than I do frowns,” he said, “and that’s because a lot of those people who work at the Chicago Board of Trade, they took a hit in these financial times just as we all did; the same thing with the people who work at the Federal Reserve. You know, the only people who are really benefiting in these economic times are this tiny, tiny minority of rich people.”
Another demonstrator, day labor organizer Neil Rysdahl, says the protesters come from all walks of life.
“The diversity is mind-boggling. We have everybody from extreme left to conservative over here, and the basis of unity seems to be not political; more socioeconomic,” he said. “Workers are getting sold out. Bankers are getting bailed out. All these harsh austerity measures are coming down on people, and we’re seeing everybody else around the world standing up and fighting back.”
The protesters say they are inspired by the Arab Spring demonstrators who brought down governments in the Middle East, and by the European protesters who marched against debt crises and government austerity measures.
They are currently protesting 24 hours a day, with no definite end.