Update: In a Wednesday press release, Occupy Chicago said the National Lawyer's Guild will be meeting with the City's Corporation Counsel to discuss a permanent, round-the-clock location in the city on Thursday.
Occupy Chicago protesters will gather outside of City Hall Wednesday afternoon to protest the alleged police harassment they experienced over the weekend, and to vocalize their desire to demonstrate "within sight and sound" of the G8 and NATO summits next May, NBC Chicago reports.
The Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism will join Occupy Chicago at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of LaSalle and Jackson for the rally. According to CCAWR, the arrests of more than 300 peaceful protesters in recent weeks were basically practice for the crackdown the city is planning in May.
Over the summer, activists expressed anger with comments made by Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who told the Chicago Sun-Times that police would be trained for "mass arrests" in advance of the summits.
In light of the City’s arrests of peaceful Occupy Chicago protesters exercising their 1st Amendment rights last Saturday night and the Saturday before that, activists will be demanding that the City drop all the charges against the protesters. During and after the arrests, senior CPD officers and other city officials repeatedly remarked that the City’s arrests of over 300 were a dry run for crackdowns on anti-G8/NATO protesters next May.
Protesters are also asking for a permanent space to assemble, since they have repeatedly been kicked out of Grant Park. They have repeatedly blamed Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not allowing them to assemble in the park.
“All we want is a home, a 24-hour space to practice direct democracy, and [Emanuel] has been blocking us at every turn,” one Occupy Chicago protester told the Christian Science Monitor. “Dismiss the charges, and our relationship will greatly improve.”
After a group of nurses protested City Hall Monday, the Emanuel administration said it has tried working with Occupy protesters, but the group has not been willing to have a conversation with them. Dick Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the Christian Science Monitor that it was “surprising” that the Emanuel administration arrested demonstrators instead of waiving the Grant Park curfew.
Simpson said it appears that Emanuel is “having difficulty trying to figure out how to deal with protesters,” and he will be even more challenged during the NATO and G8 summits in the spring.
“Previous meetings of NATO and G8 in other cities have seen massive violations of civil rights by police, resulting in millions of dollars of successful lawsuits against the host city governments," Pat Hunt of CANG8 said in a statement. "As such, the City should forthrightly commit to upholding the 1st amendment rights of protesters and rein in the verbal threats coming from police brass.”
The Emanuel administration told NBC Chicago that it has cooperated with the Occupy movement by allowing them to assemble near LaSalle and Jackson and also by assisting with traffic and crowd control.
"People have their first amendment right," Emanuel said earlier this week. "It's protected and they're expressing their views. And I've expressed my understanding of those economic hardships while making sure the law is enforced."
Check out photos from Saturday night's arrests in Grant Park here: