No Plans to Drop Occupy Protest Charges: City Hall

Two nurses providing first aid to protestors were arrested, says nurses union

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two nurse volunteers were arrested while running a first aid tent during Saturday's Occupy Chicago protests in Grant Park. Their union on Monday demanded the charges be dropped.

    Occupy Chicago on Monday returned the favor to a powerful ally.
    The grassroots organization picketed at 10 a.m. alongside National Nurses United, the country’s largest registered nurses union, outside City Hall to demand misdemeanor trespassing charges be dropped against two nurses and all Occupy Chicago protesters arrested over the weekend.
    Chicago Police arrested 130 people when Grant Park closed Saturday night and Occupy Chicago attempted for a second weekend in a row to set up permanent camp there.
    The nurses said they pitched a first aid tent like other volunteers have in cities around the country, including San Francisco and New York.

    "We were providing basic first aid care in Grant Park Saturday night," said Jan Rodolfo, registered nurse and national coordinator of National Nurses United. "Rahm took the tents denying protesters first responders free speech and free assembly."

    "First amendment rights don't stop at 11 p.m.," Rodolfo said.

    But Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a press conference he wanted to make sure the law was enforced.

    "There's a balancing act," Emanuel said. "People have their first amendment right. It's protected and they're expressing their views. And I've expressed my understanding of those economic hardships while making sure the law is enforced."

    A representative from the Mayor's office told protesters Emanuel has no plans to drop the charges.

    But Martese Chism, a registered nurse arrested in Grant Park Saturday night, said protesters have the right to assemble.

    "They have the right to free speech," Chism said.

    Occupy Chicago protesters stood by as well. “I’m here to protest the way our country is not working for people and seem not to care that other people are suffering,” said Sam Hodson, Occupy Chicago demonstrator.