Police Arrest 130 ‘Occupy Chicago’ Protesters In Grant Park
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UPDATED 10/24/11 7:29 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — For the second week in a row, anti-Wall Street protesters marched through downtown, and once again, they were arrested.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, early Sunday morning, the sidewalk near the Central District police station, 1718 S. State St., was filled with members of the Occupy Chicago movement – waiting for their compatriots to be released.
Police say about 130 had been arrested.
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Most demonstrators were eventually released, but Occupy Chicago Spokeswoman Ashley Bohrer said at least two protesters – both arrested last weekend and this weekend – were still locked up.
Bohrer accused police of ”forcing these two brave, courageous people to sit in jail another night, absolutely needlessly.”
Those arrested this weekend spent at least 12 hours in jail, hours longer than their counterparts last weekend.
Some of the people arrested this weekend were also arrested a week earlier, and thus, police say, violated the conditions of their bail. They now must stay in custody until they go before a judge.
Those who were released appeared to be in good spirits Sunday. Still, they claimed they were not treated well by police.
“They wouldn’t let anyone make phone calls. They gave out Wonder Bread – wow, fantastic – and they were just pretty much yelling at us that we put ourselves there,” said protester Kari Peters.
The Police Department responded, saying in arresting and holding the protesters, officers were not unreasonable and followed police department policy.
Occupy Chicago spokesman Joshua Kaunert vowed after the arrests that protests would continue.
“We’re not going anywhere. There are still plenty of us,” Kaunert told The Associated Press after the arrests, which took police more than an hour to complete.
police began taking people into custody just before 1 a.m. Sunday. Those arrested were led in groups to vans and two large white buses as others clamored to be arrested.
“Take me next! Take me next!” some shouted as police began the arrests. Others chanted as they were led away: “We’ll be back!”
Officers had begun placing metal barricades around the area of Chicago’s Grant Park known as Congress Plaza about 11:10 p.m. Saturday, minutes after the park had closed. Afterward, police then went through the crowd and warned people to leave or risk arrest for remaining in the closed park in violation of a city ordinance.
Several of the protesters who stayed inside the barricades in the park sat on the ground. Others locked arms as police circled and then began arresting people.
“One: We are the people! Two: We are united! Three: The occupation is not leaving!” demonstrators shouted. Others joined in from just outside the park.
The question is – what if the demonstrators got a permit, like Lollapalooza, for example.
“I don’t believe a permit was applied for,” Bohrer said. “There are some strategic reasons why applying for a permit, in some sense, concedes the ground that our right to peaceably assemble applies without restriction.”
As those who were not arrested waited outside the police station, their cell phones charged in an outdoor station outlet.
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