09/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Olympic Protest

For years environmental advocates have been trying to get the coal-burning power plants in Pilsen and Little Village to close down or clean up, citing evidence that they produce enough toxic air pollution to cause at least 40 premature deaths and scores of trips to the emergency room each year.

But when two dozen activists--many wearing air filter masks for effect--gathered outside Mayor Daley's office Wednesday morning, they delivered the message with a new, urgent twist: it's about the Olympics.

"We've been fighting to shut them down for a long time, but the mayor hasn't shut them down," said Kimberly Wasserman Nieto, an organizer for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, which was behind the event. "So we figured that if he won't do it for the residents, maybe he'll do it for all the Olympic visitors."

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