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Seniors Join Occupy Chicago To Protest Safety Net Program Cuts

Seniors Protest

Seniors join Occupy Chicago members at Federal Plaza to protest cuts to federal safety net program. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 11/08/11 8:06 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police arrested 43 people after a morning federal plaza rally by seniors and their supporters who are protesting cuts to federal social programs.

The large group of seniors joined Occupy Chicago protesters at Federal Plaza Monday morning for a lively protest.

The group held a demonstration at Federal Plaza, and marched a couple of blocks to Jackson Boulevard and Clark Street. There, the group staged a sit in.

“This is your last warning. If you do not vacate the intersection, you will be arrested. Again, this is your final warning. You will be arrested,” he said.

But the demonstrators, some in wheelchairs, linked arms and sat down in the middle of the street, and police made good on their warning to arrest them.

Chicago Police gently assisted the seniors and removed the protesters from the area.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

The group was rallying against cuts to federal safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Members of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus led the rally.

On the Occupy Chicago Web site, spokeswoman Rachael Perrotta said: “We are fighting for our elders, for our children, and for our future. Their welfare is our priority. We demand our elected leaders, like (Sen. Dick) Durbin (D-Ill.), (Sen. Mark) Kirk (R-Ill.) and ‘Mayor 1%’ (Rahm) Emanuel, choose to serve the people, and protect the programs that ensure our futures.”

Durbin appeared at the protest, as did U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)

The publication also said four people in wheelchairs were taken into custody.