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Late Tuesday morning, about 150 protesters rallied outside of a Bank of America branch in the heart of Chicago's Loop, blocking the branch entrance in just one of a series of actions expected as part of May Day demonstrations in the city.
The protesters temporarily shut down the entrance of the bank, located at the intersection of State and Adams, until Chicago police arrived to block the entrance themselves, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
According to NBC Chicago, the group swelled to about 2,000-strong as they marched through the Loop downtown Tuesday afternoon. No arrests were reported during the May Day demonstrations in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reports that protesters previously proceeded west from the bank demonstrations to Union Park, where a noon rally took place, at Ashland and Lake on the Near West Side.
"Get a job, you jerks!" one man yelled at the protesters as they crossed the street, according to the Tribune.
The rally was expected to attract an array of protesters, including anti-war activist and retired University of Illinois professor William "Bill" Ayers. From Union Park, a march will head east toward a Federal Plaza rally later Tuesday.
"We’ll march right past the scene of the Haymarket massacre," Ayers told ABC News of the May Day protest in Chicago. "There used to be a big statute in tribute to police power but it was taken down. Now there’s a wonderful piece of public art celebrating the movement for labor rights and the anarchists’ movement."
May Day rally organizers in Chicago said they were expecting a turnout of at least 3,000, but some hoped for a crowd as large as the 100,000 who participated in a May Day immigration march six years ago, NBC Chicago reports.
May Day actions typically focus on the issues of immigration and workers rights, but Occupy groups rallying against corporate greed have joined the flanks this year. Adbusters, a magazine that helped spur the Occupy movement, previously put out the call for 50,000 activists to descend on Chicago to protest beginning Tuesday. On Friday, they renewed that rallying cry.
"On May 1st, we will shut down the 1%. We will picket the banks and take the streets. We will have mutual aid, a free feast, music and community. We will strike May 1st," an Occupy Chicago announcement of the May Day rally proclaimed.
The rallies were considered something of a dress rehearsal for what are expected to be widespread protests against the NATO summit to be held in Chicago in three weeks. Many of the same groups participating in May Day actions are also planning to hit the streets when Chicago hosts world leaders for the summit later this month.
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