“Occupy City Hall” protesters demand that Mayor Emanuel respects 1st Amendment Rights

 

Peace and social justice activists upset at Chicago police harassment of Occupy Chicago and verbal threats against those planning to protest the May 2012 G8/NATO summits launched a non-violent action dubbed “Occupy City Hall” yesterday at the intersection of LaSalle and Jackson.  The action included a march on City Hall.

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 demanded 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.

On a parallel front, since July anti-war organizers in the Coalition Against NATO / G8 War and Poverty Agenda (“CANG8”) have delivered letters and attempted to meet with the city regarding respect for the 1st amendment rights of protesters during the NATO and G8 summits that will take place in Chicago in May 2012.  Their first communications were met with silence, and then repeated calls to city officials in charge of the permitting process were met with a run-around and then with continued silence.

For the G8 / NATO summits, the protesters are demanding that Mayor Emanuel publicly commit to giving march permits that allow protesters to get “within sight and sound” of the summits, and that Police Superintendent McCarthy cease making threatening statements against would-be G8/NATO protesters. 

“The G8 and the NATO military alliance are two of the institutions which bear some of the greatest responsibility for the wars and economic violence traumatizing millions of people around the world,” said Pat Hunt of CANG8.  “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.  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.”

“In addition to dropping the charges against Occupy Chicago participants, the group is also demanding that the City allow a permanent 1st Amendment encampment for the Occupy movement, just as many other major cities now do.”

For more information about the action, email CCAWR@aol.com