Nurses Protest After Being Arrested At Occupy Chicago Rally

CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of nurses picketed outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office Monday morning to express their outrage, after several nurses were arrested during the Occupy Chicago protests over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Occupy Chicago protesters are back on the streets, after 130 of them were arrested over the weekend. Some of the protesters were due in court Monday.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the nurses, represented by the group National Nurses United, had set up a nurses’ station to provide basic first aid for Occupy Chicago protesters in Grant Park.

But over the weekend, the nurses were among 130 arrested by Chicago Police at the protest. The union said police also ripped down the nursing station.

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“Even in wartime, combatants respect the work of nurses and other first responders. Yet Mayor Emanuel and Chicago seem to care as little about that tradition as they do in protecting the constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.” said National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in a news release.

The nurses held a protest at City Hall Monday, and advised union members to call the mayor’s office and demand that all charges against the nurses and other protesters be dropped.

They called the police actions harassment and disrespect for those who are trying to exercise their free speech rights.

“First Amendment rights don’t stop at 11 p.m. at night. They’re 24-7,” said protester Jan Rodolfo. “It is not the case that a city ordinance should out-rule the provisions of the Constitution.”

City parks close at 11 p.m. The protesters were on the edge of Grant Park.

The group cites a Chicago Tribune report that city officials are seeking to get “tough” on protesters in preparation for the NATO and G8 summit meetings in May, and suggests that this policy might be behind the mass-arrests at Occupy Chicago rallies.

The Mayor’s office responded to the nurses’ accusations Monday.

“Since the Occupy Chicago protests began, the city has supported their right to protest freely and their freedom of speech, and the city has assisted with traffic and crowd control during their marches,” the Mayor’s office statement said. “The Mayor has asked Supt. Garry McCarthy and Corporation Counsel Steve Patton to identify additional ways that the City of Chicago can accommodate the Occupy Chicago protesters.”

But the mayor’s press secretary, who addressed the protesters a short time ago, said the protesters still need to follow the law. Park District ordinance requires all parks to be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel told reporters Monday that police didn’t even make any arrests until 12:30 p.m.

After leaving City Hall, the nurses boarded a bus to Springfield, where they plan to continue their protest.

This was the second weekend in a row that Occupy Chicago protesters marched downtown, and also the second weekend of numerous arrests.

  • David

    The right to assembly is one thing, but nothing says the protestors have to be accommodated in any way. Don’t do what the police tell you to do and go to jail. Good job CPD!!!

    • bfife

      I highly agree!

  • bfife

    If the Police tell you to move or go to jail,then you get arrested! Respect their authority!

  • maround

    I also very HIGHLY AGREE! Bad excuse nurses……

  • bfife

    Bi–ch,bi–ch that’s all the protesters or anyone does when the Police act within their powers! Please shut the hell up already and do as you are told!

    • Julie

      I can’t wait for the day when you get hit in the head with a billy club for no reason. You won’t be singling the same tune then. I guaranee it.

  • jimmy

    The crybaby conservatives are out in full force today.

    “WAAAAAHHHHHHH! Do as your told WAAAHHH”

  • Centurion

    Imagine, protests and police brutality is how it all started in Libya. Are you people ready to reallly OCCUPY CHICAGO?

    The police rely on your fear of jail.

  • CFLC

    No pity for the nurses that refused to follow police order. You have a right to protest and you have a right to get locked up when your given a legal order to disperse and refuse that order. We do still live in a civilized society.

    • Julie

      Really? We live in a civilized society where banks are allowed to steal and don’t go to jail for their monstrous thefts and illegal tactics, but law abiding ciizens who stand up and say they should be held accountable for their thievery are the bad ones? You call that a civilized society??

  • 99 per cent



  • Occupy Chicago Wants Permanent Gathering Spot; City Says No « CBS Chicago

    […] Rodolfo was part of a group representing nurses who had set up a station in Grant Park, and were arr… […]

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