Occupy Chicago Wants Permanent Gathering Spot; City Says No

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Occupy Chicago protesters are trying to strike a deal with City Hall for a permanent place to gather, but haven’t gotten very far.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, attorneys representing the demonstrators met Thursday with officials from the Chicago Department of Law. The request for a permanent gathering spot was turned down, the Chicago Tribune reported.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

In addition to the permanent location, the protesters want charges dropped against all those who have been arrested at demonstrations, the newspaper reported. The city said no to that request too.

In the past couple of weekends, police have arrested about 300 people for violating the Chicago park curfew of 11 p.m., when they refused to leave, the Tribune reported.

The protesters claim the arrests are violations of their First Amendment rights.

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

Rodolfo was part of a group representing nurses who had set up a station in Grant Park, and were arrested when they didn’t take it down.

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 Monday. “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 said Monday that 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.

  • tom Sharp

    A lot of this is posturing by both sides, but one thing stands out to me–Curfew arrests. i wonder how curfew arrests of gang bangers and other criminals have been made outside this group of protesters. We have all of Rahm’s sound bites on putting his foot down on crime by enforcing curfew laws, but the crime goes on as do the curfew violation. Bottom line: pay attention to the real criminals and ease off on the protesters.

  • Losers!

    I don’t believe this is posturing at all. Everyone has to follow the same rules. The parks are closed over night. The city has already been far more leneint with these losers than I would be. Erase 300 arrests? Why would the city do that? I do believe the city should set up a really nice spot in the Englewood community for the protestors to demonstrate and camp overnight. Disruptions to business and traffic downtown should not be tolerated AT ALL. The constitution does not allow for these kind of disruptions. These lazy ass demonstrators are being accomodated far far too much as it is!!!

    • chiiill

      The parks are only closed overnight as an excuse to harass and imprison (enslave) homeless people. It is an unjust law and is certainly overridden by the bill of rights.

      The people of Englewood are not at fault for the destruction of our society. It is right that the protest is in the Loop. It’s obvious that you’re trying to lock us away in the ghetto where people who call themselves journalists wouldn’t dream of even trying to cover the protests. Only people without a valid rebuttal have to censor, you know.

      You know, I’m so, so sorry that the people trying to make sure that surviving modern American life doesn’t become impossible for average human beings may have slightly inconvenienced you. You really have your priorities straight. I bet you threw your smoke detector away because it didn’t go with your decor.

      Don’t you understand how destroying the economy and squirreling away the loot impedes business and traffic? (And if you really want to ban all disruption, you have to ban rush hour too.)

      Why is it that the 1% can take and ruin millions of lives, but if a bunch of optimistic people take seconds, or, “god forbid,” minutes of a few thousand lives, we must be crushed?

      In a way, the entire point of these protests is that there are different sets of rules for different people.

      The creation of a tent city is a political statement, as in, “Hey ashholes, you’re making us homeless or in serious fear of it, though we have done absolutely nothing wrong, and YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT IT.” It also facilitates totally legitimate organizing and networking that well-bankrolled think tanks have covered because they have blood money to burn, which we don’t. Plus, staying overnight creates a fun sense of community. I know you clearly hate joy and all, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. Where is your humanity?

      By the way, the Chicago establishment doesn’t care about the cleanliness of the park. If they did, they wouldn’t let their horses defecate everywhere while arresting people.

    • tom Sharp

      I just prefer to have someone protesting in the park than mugging people on the sidewalk. It’s at matter of priorities, and the protesters should be lower on the list than the real criminals. If you read the blogs here, the latter seem to be running amok again. Ideally all crimes” would be dealt with, but that can’t be in Chicago.

      • Losers!

        I agree that violent crime should be the #1 priority. But at the same time, these loser protestors have the eye of the world and should be held to the exact letter of the law. They should not receive a single concession from the city. These people are becoming the stink ass arm pit of American society. Whining and crying instead of looking for work is a bad example of what this country was built on.

  • Bill

    you can practictice the 1st ammendment all you want…just not in the park that closes at 11pm for public safety. the 1st ammendment is not a free-for-all anarchy do whatever you want clause of the constitution.

  • I Love You Too

    6 pack and a TV,
    I am always amazed at the Loudness of ignorance! Don’t they understand that the same pig headed ignorance is the identical perspective of those that do crime and gangs.
    Actually, what do they have against the 2 million+ people that died in wars to build and protect our republic and it’s democracy.
    Why don’t they get some facts http://www.weareoccupy.com about the robbery of the people of the United States and the associated crimes and elimination of peoples rights before they go and trash those that are trying to stop those robberies.
    Truth wins justice, dignity and morality, not sheepleness or ignorance.
    Don’t they realize that in 30 years their grandchildren will be putting their pictures on walls for dart practice as a result of being sold down the river as slaves?
    But, who would actually be surprised that Chicago, a city known worldwide for corruption would want to prevent the promotion of justice and marching for truth.
    I love Chicago and the people of Chicago, it saddens me that the controllers of the city have decided to promote the pillaging of the people of the USA instead of joining with the 99% in saying …hey…wait a minute.. let’s take a closer look at all of this.

    • Losers!

      You have a very distorted view of reality. There is no pillaging of the people, nor any robbery. Our federal lawmakers are responsible for the laws the way they read. Not wallstreet, bankers, or the wealthiest 1%. That’s why we have elections. If you don’t like the way the laws are written, don’t take it out on wealthy people. Vote for candidates that share your priorities. It’s not wrong to become wealthy in this country. What do you expect rich people to do, share their wealth with everyone? Crying and whining will change nothing. Voting is how our system can change. Wall Street is not the problem, banks are not the problem, and rich people are not the problem. The American system of “The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Poorer” is the problem. That is completely controlled by the congress that we vote into office.

    • slave

      Do the Math,
      Rahm Emanuel campaign cash: 11 million…$11,788,360 for a job that pays $216,000 per year.

  • chiiill

    There are no candidates that share the priorities of the majority of Americans. There may be a few exceptions that prove the rule – Bernie Sanders comes to mind. This is because of swing voters, the willfully ignorant people who don’t bother to do real research into politics, but instead rely on campaign ads and mainstream corporate “news” rhetoric. That’s why money controls everything, because lazy people willfully maintain a shallow understanding of politics.

    Do you think politicians are just mean or something? Why would they vote for destructive, immoral policies against the will of the majority of their constituencies and in favor of the extremely wealthy if they weren’t controlled by the wealthy due to dependence on their money? You are barely scratching the surface of the corruption that is going on. Blaming politicians for economic inequality is like blaming seeds for the existence of genetically-modified food.

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