NATO Protesters Camp Out in Woodlawn

The Mental Health Movement offered an invitation to stay and protesters accepted

By Lauren Petty and Alexandra Clark
|  Friday, May 18, 2012  |  Updated 9:39 AM CDT
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NATO Protesters Camp Out in Woodlawn

The Mental Health Movement occupying the space across from a Woodlawn Clinic offers protesters a place to stay during the NATO Summit.

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At least two dozen NATO demonstrators are waking up after spending a night under the stars across the street from a Woodlawn clinic.

Protesters from New York, Oklahoma, Montana and Philadelphia are among those who arrived Thursday night looking for a place to stay and found refuge with the Mental Health Movement occupation.

Members of the movement have been occupying the space across from the Woodlawn Mental Health clinic in protest to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to close six of 12 public facilities in Chicago. They sent out a public invitation to any protester looking for a place to stay.

"The message is one against war and for health care, and we’re for health care so it was a perfect fit,” said local protester Richard Del Rio. “Plus we have all this space.

About 50 NATO demonstrators made arrangements to camp out at the site, according to a press release from Mental Health Movement.

 Del Rio said the Anti-Eviction Campaign came by to offer a place to sleep at some their “eviction blockades” on the city’s South Side. He added that a number of them took advantage of the offer.

The movement is still expecting many more to join them as protesters continue to arrive in the city and look for a place to stay.

Two buses from California arrived in the city early Friday and were said to be heading towards Woodlawn, but have not arrived yet.
 
The first group of about 40 protesters, some wearing masks, arrived Wednesday evening to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ from New York City and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
 
More protesters from the Occupy movement will arrive in Chicago by bus from New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles ahead of this weekend's NATO Summit.

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