Early this morning, roughly 130 people from Occupy Chicago were arrested while attempting for the second time to build a new, permanent home for the Occupation, exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Arrestees were taken to the District 1 Police Station at 18th & State, where they were charged with disturbing the peace.
This weekend follows up 175 arrests from last weekend’s demonstration in the same park. Those 175 were released on bond a few hours after their arrests. Individuals arrested this morning have been held much longer, some over 16 hours. These arrestees were denied phone calls and legal counsel.
Six protesters were arrested last week as well as this morning. Despite Occupy Chicago’s attempt to post bond for these individuals, only one, Joey Young, 27, was released. The rest are being held until they meet individually with a judge on Monday, each at separate locations. Young was told he could speak with a public defender but that never manifested. After a very brief meeting with a bond judge, Young was released around 3:00 PM with a $10,000 i-bond. His possessions, including his phone, shoelaces and wallet, were not returned. He has a court date scheduled for October 26.
Those arrested Sunday morning included registered nurses and other members from National Nurses United, who erected a medical tent at the action. NNU and Occupy Chicago plan a protest outside City Hall at 10:00 AM Monday to denounce the arrests and demand that charges be dropped.
Occupy Chicago questions why city resources are being used to arrest non-violent protestors. First Amendment rights guarantee the right to peaceful assembly, and park curfews should not restrict these rights.
Since the completion of arrests around 3:00 AM, dozens of supporters have been waiting outside the police station with donations of hot food for the release of their fellow Occupiers.
Since Sept. 23, Occupy Chicago has been utilizing the sidewalks of the financial district to raise awareness of the corruption and complicity in the banking industry and government.