Occupy Chicago Ponders Next Confrontation

City officials told Occupy Chicago they could not have a permanent home on public space

By Michael Kaplan
|  Friday, Oct 28, 2011  |  Updated 11:32 AM CDT
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About 130 protesters refuse to budge from Grant Park Saturday night, and are arrested for the second time.

About 130 protesters refuse to budge from Grant Park Saturday night, and are arrested for the second time.

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Occupy Chicago will decide Friday whether to challenge the city once more by attempting to set up camp in Grant Park.

Leaders of the anti-Wall Street movement said marching on Grant Park this weekend is still being discussed, but "no firm decision," has been made.

City officials on Thursday denied a request for a permanent Occupy location during a meeting with lawyers representing the protest movement. The city also said it will not drop charges against the protesters who have been arrested.

"The city has been consistent with respecting their rights but balancing that with our obligation to enforce the city laws," said Roderick Drew, a law department spokesman. "It is when their expression violates city ordinances that the city has and will act accordingly."

For the past two weekends, protesters have marched from their base at Jackson Boulevard and LaSalle Street to Grant Park in attempt to set up a permanent home in the park. Police cracked down at the park's 11 p.m. closing time, arresting about 300 people in two separate sweeps.

Meanwhile, the protest, now in its fifth week, will continue on the sidewalks of downtown's Financial District.

Drew said the city will not change its approach to enforcing the Grant Park's closing time should the protesters once again attempt to establish a base there.

On Friday, Occupy Chicago will hold a candlelight vigil for Scott Olsen, a U.S. Marine corporal and Iraqi war veteran who was in intensive care after being hit by a police projectile during an Occupy Oakland protest.

On Tuesday, at least 200 riot police from around the Bay Area clashed with Oakland protesters attempting to take over a city park, lobbing tear gas and flash-bang grenades in attempt to corral and contain them.
 

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