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Crowd Celebrates Arrested Protesters' Release

Demonstrators arrested Sunday taken to station near Belmont and Western

By Anthony Ponce
|  Monday, May 21, 2012  |  Updated 7:59 AM CDT
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A big crowd waited overnight for a dozen arrested protesters to be released by Chicago Police. Every 15 to 20 minutes, another protester or two would walk out the door and be greeted by cheers.

A big crowd waited overnight for a dozen arrested protesters to be released by Chicago Police. Every 15 to 20 minutes, another protester or two would walk out the door and be greeted by cheers.

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A group of about 100 protesters were outside a north side police station early Monday demanding that authorities release from their custody demonstrators who were arrested a day earlier.

"Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prisons," some chanted outside the Area North station near West Belmont and North Western avenues.

Every 15 to 20 minutes, another protester or two would walk out the door and be greeted by cheers.

One teen was picked up by his parents. The crowd cheered as he was escorted to the family SUV.

"You stood up for what you believe in! It's worth being grounded," someone shouted.

As Robert Hines, 23, was released after 1 a.m., he gave a high fives to supporters. Another released protester gave the finger to police as he left.

“It was ridiculous,” said Hines, an Occupy Chicago member who was arrested Sunday evening during a clash with police at Cermak and Michigan. "They started hitting people with billy clubs. Basically, a misuse of power in my opinion."

But each of about 12 protesters released since 1 a.m. said police treated them well in custody.

"I wouldn't say anything bad about the guys in there," one protester said. "They were just doing their job, trying to get us through here as fast as they could."

"They were really nice actually," another protester said.

Many of the protesters gathered had walked from another demonstration the moved north through the Loop after a break outside The Art Institute of Chicago, where First Lady Michelle Obama was hosting a private dinner for the spouses of NATO leaders.

For the latest updates on NATO in Chicago, check our live blog and our special NATO section. Be a part of the conversation by using #NATORedZone on social media.

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