Pre-NATO protests target evictions, foreclosures

May 16, 2012 3:31:08 PM PDT
Dozens of Occupy Chicago protesters marched through the Loop calling for a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures and evictions Wednesday.

No arrests were made during the protest, which began at the Board of Trade and picked up speed as the group moved past banks.

Besides chants, signs and bullhorns, protesters tried setting up a makeshift living room in front of a bank only to be told by police to move it.

"You can march, you can express your opinion, but you can't set up your stuff," a police officer told protesters.

Demonstrators took couches, chairs and rugs to Daley Plaza where they reenacted an eviction on a stage.

"Today we're calling on Sheriff Dart to put another one-year moratorium on evictions. We were excited to see he did that before and we're asking him to do it again," Blaise Sewell, Occupy Chicago.

With Daley building security in place for any action inside the building, protesters stayed outside and welcomed a member of Sheriff Tom Dart's staff to the podium.

"Sheriff Dart has his own petition. He, too, supports and has been supportive of legal protection for renters since 2008," said Dana Wright, Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Wednesday's protest is one of many leading up to this weekend's NATO summit.

So what do evictions have to do with NATO? Emily Reynolds says everything. She is getting paid to be here. Her college gave her a $3,000 grant to research activism.

"We really believe all grievances are connected, it's all connected to this global structure where people are disempowered from their government," Reynolds said.

While their demonstration ended at Daley Plaza, some protesters tried one more time to set up their eviction furniture across the street in the Citibank lobby. Police stepped in and threw the stuff all in a police van.

One of the protesters arrested on Tuesday during a downtown rally is now charged with a felony.

Danny Johnson, 31, is accused of assaulting a Chicago police officer. The Los Angeles resident was arrested when he allegedly punched a police officer. Johnson was ordered held on $10,000 bond.

So far this week, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said 12 arrests have been made.

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