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10 Arrested At Another Demonstration To Save Mental Health Clinic

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Clinic Protest

Ten people were arrested overnight at a protest at the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic, which is set to close next week. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 04/24/12 8:44 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Ten protesters were arrested Monday night after another protest at the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic, which is set to close next week.

Police began arresting demonstrators from the Mental Health Movement who were camped out across from the clinic, after warning the protesters that arrests would begin if they did not leave by 11 p.m.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, this is the third time the protesters have been arrested, and it probably won’t be the last.

Police showed up at their tent encampment around 10:30 p.m. Monday and ordered them to leave or be arrested on charges of criminal trespass on city-owned land.

Ten opted for arrest, and for the second time, police also took their tents.

The clinic, at 6337 S. Woodlawn Ave., is set to close April 30, along with three other similar facilities as part of a plan by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to consolidate the city’s 12 mental health clinics into six. Two other clinics have already closed.

The protesters have been occupying the vacant lot across from the clinic for more than a week, protesting the planned closure of the Woodlawn clinic and five other city-owned clinics.

Some protesters also say the city does not actually own the vacant lot where they are camping out.

The activists also have been successful at disrupting Mayor Emanuel several times at public events, trying to get him to keep clinics open.

The plan to close and consolidate clinics would save some $3 million, according to the city.

But patients and advocates have said closing the clinic would cause such a disruption as to end up costing the city money in the long run.

“If these centers close… people who go to these centers describe it as being like a death sentence. So many people rely on their therapists, and closing centers means laying off a number of therapists, caseworkers, and people who get disconnected from the lifesaving treatment that they give,” Toussaint Losier of the Mental Health Movement said last week.

He added that the $3 million in savings will not be realized when the fallout of closing the clinics is taken into account.

“It’s actually going to end up costing the city, the county, the folks here more money to close these clinics, because folks who rely on these services are going to end up slipping through the cracks,” Losier said on April 17.

The week before last, 23 people were arrested outside the clinic, after they barricaded themselves in front of the doors using steel gates, piping and quick-dry cement.

Police used a chainsaw to cut through the barricades and hauled the demonstrators away.

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