Protesters block traffic downtown, citations issued

November 17, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Similar protests played out all over the country.

Organizers in Chicago seemed to be determining their course on the fly. Hundreds of followers chanted and carried signs. One minute they were headed from the financial district toward Grant Park; the next they were winding back west toward Daley Plaza. With a police escort, they sent a message and they believe it was effective.

"I think it's going beautifully. Look at the turnout, there are so many people out here," said Arielle Amiri, protester.

"I don't think today is the day we're going to change everything. It's an entire economic system that has to change. We believe we're making progress step by step," said Ellen Kang, protester.

Occupy Chicago has had a constant presence in the Loop for two months now. Thursday's formal demonstration began in the late afternoon with protesters marching to the LaSalle Street Bridge. Several dozen predetermined members of the movement sat down in the middle of the street until police cited them and led them away. It was a move designed to get attention during the start of rush hour.

UIC professor Dick Simpson, who studies protest movements, says it is effective.

"They need to keep the focus of the media so they get the public involved in the question and begin to get politicians to respond to them," said Simpson.

"It's civil disobedience. If something's wrong with the law, you have to break it," said Ryan Sporer, protester.

The protest caused some delays for downtown drivers but police kept things moving and some drivers ABC7 talked to had no complaints.

"I would be with them if I didn't have to be somewhere else right now," said Monika Starczuk, commuter.

Unlike other protests around the country, the demonstration was peaceful on the whole.

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