Occupy Chicago marked another tally in their "win" column after Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled a planned appearance they had planned to protest on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus Friday.
On Thursday, the university announced that Emanuel would not be lecturing as part of their "Future of Chicago" series as previously planned, and Occupy Chicago issued a press release claiming the cancellation as a "victory" over "Mayor 1%."
"'Mayor 1%' is running scared, he's afraid to face taxpayers after pushing to give our hard earned dollars to his buddies in the corporate world," Rachael Perrotta, an Occupy Chicago participant, said in a statement. "Corrupt politicians can run, but they can’t hide from the People's Mic. They can expect their public appearances to be Occupied until they start serving the interests of the people."
The occupiers had planned to call Emanuel out for his support of extending tax breaks to corporations including Sears Holdings and the CME Group, as NBC Chicago reported. The tax break package stalled this week in Springfield, which the occupiers also took as a sign that a call-in campaign they'd conducted alongside other groups including SEIU, Make Wall Street Pay Illinois and Citizen-Action Illinois was successful.
The university, in an e-mail to its student body, stated that the mayor had to cancel his appearance "due to schedule changes." John Tolva, the city's chief technology officer and a former IBM executive, was scheduled to speak in his place, a lecture which occupiers also planned to protest. The university says Emanuel has agreed to reschedule the appearance for next year.
The UIC protest was not have been occupiers' first skirmish with the mayor. Last Week, Occupy Chicago protesters "mic-checked" the mayor as he delivered brief remarks at he opening of the "Lightscape: A Multisensory Experience" holiday display in the city's Loop. The group was in the midst of marching to City Hall to deliver a petition to Emanuel, asking for a 24-hour location where they can assemble for demonstrations. They also want to see previous charges against arrested occupiers dropped.
The mayor has previously described the Occupy Chicago protesters' frustrations as "understandable" but was quick to add that he did not agree with the movement's solutions.
In other Occupy Chicago updates, the group's "Occupy the Hood" arm joined the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign in a press conference discussing efforts to fight the foreclosure and tenant eviction of a home on the city's Southwest Side. The groups are planning actions later this month as part of a "Home For The Holidays" campaign.
"This is a diverse and city-wide coalition and we won't sit still while the banks destroy our communities," Occupy the Hood Chicago representative Loren Taylor said in a news release. "This is what occupation of our neighborhoods will look like."
Elsewhere in the city, Occupy Chicago is also preparing for their first overnight encampment Sunday at the New Beginnings Church, located at 6620 S. King Drive, where Pastor Corey Brooks has been occupying the roof of the South Side church to protest violence in the area.