Occupy Chicago // OccupyChi.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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March & Rally in Defense of Civil Liberties
4pm, Jackson & LaSalle
March to City Hall
Rally will demand public space for 24-hour Occupation, dropping of charges against Occupiers
CHICAGO 11/21 – This Monday, at 4pm Occupy Chicago calls for supporters to gather at Jackson and LaSalle to defend civil liberties. They will march to City Hall, and hold a rally to demand the City drop all charges for those arrested in the early-morning hours after Occupy Chicago’s marches on October 15th and 23rd. They will also insist on their First Amendment right to a public space for 24-hour Occupation.
“Over 300 people were arrested for putting up tents, for saying that freedom of speech does not have a curfew," says Joshua Kaunert, an archaeologist and Occupy Chicago Committee member. "If we want to break the stranglehold big business and financial institutions have on our democracy, we need to build an Occupation in the public commons, where individuals, unions, and community organizations can come together to create real change.”
The Chicago Police Department and ‘Mayor 1%’ Emanuel are following the national trend of repressing the Occupy movement, threatening first amendment rights and freedom of speech. This October, hundreds were wrongfully arrested in Chicago while establishing an encampment in Grant Park for 24-hour assembly. Some were denied life-saving medicines while in jail.
“Charges should be dropped against peaceful protesters,” says Cathy "Sugar" Russell, an Occupy Chicago participant. “'Mayor 1%' Emanuel didn’t haul us off to jail to protect public safety, he did so because he feared we’d shine a light on his own corrupt practices and the financial interests he serves.”
Cities around the country are formally admitting fault in the handling of arrests of peaceful protesters in the two months since Occupy Wall Street began. To date city officials have dropped charges against Occupiers in Albany, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento. In addition to Chicago, charges are currently under investigation in Denver, San Diego and New York City.
“I Occupied the park until 3am, standing up for my rights, knowing I would be arrested,” said student and activist Sam Sandmel. "One of the officers who processed me quietly told me she agreed with our cause, but couldn’t join or support us or she’d risk losing her job.”