Protesters chanted, “The people united will never be defeated,” as they made their way to Grant Park, at the intersection of South Michigan Avenue and East Congress Parkway. One sign read, “I just spent $700,000,000 on bailouts and all I got was this lousy sign.” Others carried signs criticizing corporate greed, the war in Afghanistan, and messages supporting the 99 percent.
Several speakers addressed the crowd at Grant Park on Saturday night. The speakers encouraged the crowd to stay overnight and to continue pushing for change.
Within an hour of occupying Grant Park, more than 20 tents were set up for protesters committed to engaging in civil disobedience, which would result in their arrest.
Protesters and those supporting the protesters were encouraged to call Mayor Rahm Emanuel to request that the protesters be allowed to stay overnight.
Grant Park closes at 11 p.m., and protesters were encouraged to leave in order to avoid arrests, said Tony Deacetis, 20.
Deacetis was among those arrested early Sunday morning.
“Roosevelt University students came out and supported us as we were being transported. It was very peaceful,” Deacetis said regarding the arrests.
“I was released at 8 a.m., and have been back protesting ever since,” he said.
Chicago police officers gave everyone the option to leave, but a majority of the protesters stood their ground and were arrested, said Nick Hefele, a protester and witness to the arrests.
“Even if this fizzles out, I want people to use this as an opportunity to lend a helping hand to others,” said Hefele, 26.
“We are here to assemble. . . to get the truth out,” said veteran protester John Sheehan, who participated in protests in the 1970s.
“The American public has been shut of the political system, which is now controlled by corporations,” Sheehan said.
“The energy everybody is bringing here is very powerful,” said Ruby Troyano, 22.
Troyano, a New Orleans native, hitchhiked to join the protesters in Chicago.
On Sunday evening, more than 400 protesters marched to Grant Park for a general assembly.
Protesters included suburban house wives, working professionals, veterans, unemployed individuals and college students.
The Occupy Chicago protests have been going on for more than 23 days. A list of demands was proposed last weekend, and a schedule of educational events and discussions was created.
- 175 Occupy Chicago Protesters Arrested In Grant Park Campout (PHOTOS, VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Occupy Chicago protesters released after Grant Park arrests – Chicago Tribune (news.google.com)
- Mass arrests at ‘Occupy’ protest in Chicago (rt.com)
- The Local Angle on Occupy Chicago, #OccupyWallStreet Covered (chicagotalks.org)