City of Chicago Refuses to Grant Occupiers First Amendment Rights
CHICAGO 10/23/11 — Yesterday, thousands marched from the Federal Reserve to Michigan and Congress, where organizers attempted, for a second time, to build a new home for Occupy Chicago, exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble, and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances. Saturday’s demonstration echoed the actions of October 14th, which resulted in 175 arrests.
Chicago authorities again blocked the creation of a new home base in Grant Park, arresting nearly 130 non-violent demonstrators, many of whom are still being held at the District 1 station at 18th and State. Members of the Occupy movement are at the station now, assisting those exiting the jail, and ask for support from the community to pay the high bail costs for those who were arrested for the second time.
“There isn’t an asterisk in the first amendment, where it says freedom of assembly as long as it’s convenient,” says Joshua Kaunert, who has been participating in Occupy Chicago for 22 days. “We are non-violent, and have a right to air our grievances. The occupation will continue!”
When asked why securing a permanent home base is so important, Occupy Chicago organizers said, “We need space to find solutions to the problems facing our country. We don’t have a voice in our current political structure, so we have taken to the streets, occupying more than 1,000 cities around the world. We are beginning a conversation about how to put power back in the hands of ordinary people, taking it away from corrupt politicians and corporations. Together, we will create a new system, built on social and economic equality.”
Since Sept. 23, Occupy Chicago has been utilizing the sidewalks of the financial district to raise awareness of the corruption and complicity in the banking industry and government.
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