Volunteers from National Nurses United and “Occupy Chicago” demonstrators marched to City Hall on Tuesday to protest their arrest late Saturday night in Grant Park.
About 130 people were arrested after they set up tents in protest against the consolidation of economic power and refused to leave the public park after closing time.
The majority of protesters peacefully heeded police warnings and left the park. Those who stayed were charged with misdemeanor trespassing and kept in holding cells for several hours.
Another 175 “Occupy Chicago” protesters were arrested in Grant Park in mid October.
The group of more than 100 people confronted Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff Felicia Davis inside Chicago’s City Hall, and chanted “drop the charges.”
Davis told the group that the mayor’s office had tried to arrange a meeting with the protest’s organizers, but the offer was rejected. When she later tried to call the organizers, her calls were not returned.
“Occupy Chicago” press liaison Evelyn DeHais told WBEZ91.5 that the protest’s general assembly had voted to reject meeting with the mayor’s office and had voted not to return their phone calls. The demonstrators have demanded that city officials come to one of their daily assembly meetings.
“It’s very difficult to negotiate when the faces keep changing,” Davis explained. “I’m willing to sit down and have an open and respectful dialogue. I just need to know who the the real, appropriate, valid people are to have that happen.”
An “Occupy Chicago” protester who acted as an impromptu spokeswoman at City Hall said that the group would not participate in closed door meetings with the mayor’s office.
“Democracy does not happen behind closed doors,” she said.
“One hundred and fifty of you shouting at me actually isn’t democracy either,” Davis responded. “You can have an open respectful dialogue in a room, not with 150 people yelling at one time.”
Davis later walked away in frustration, claiming to have been misrepresented by the protesters’ “human mic” system of communication.
“Occupy Chicago” began on September 23, when around 20 people gathered at Willis Tower and then marched to the Federal Reserve Bank to show their solidarity with the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters in lower Manhattan.
Dozens to hundreds of protesters have demonstrated day-after-day at a busy corner outside the Federal Reserve Bank, in city with a history of cracking down hard on civil disobedience.
Watch video of the confrontation, courtesy of independent YouTube reporter John Sheehan, below: