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Occupy Chicago Wants Permanent Gathering Spot; City Says No

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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.

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