Members of "Occupy Chicago" began Saturday with a number of demonstrations throughout the city before a mass demonstration in an event they called "Chicago Spring."
"April 7th is a community day," said Trina McGee, a participant in Occupy Chicago, in a post on the group's website. "We will form a new network of allies, and strengthen existing bonds, to build the broad coalition we need to take power back from the 1%, putting it into the hands of Chicago's people and communities."
Smaller, neighborhood events preceeded a larger event at 1 p.m. at LaSalle and Jackson streets. Occupy Chicago demonstrators marched to Butler Field at Grant Park where workshops and panel discussions were held.
"We are here today in Grant Park to show the city, 'No, we are done with these borders. We are done with the division. We know who our targets are. We know how things are operating, and we are going to organize our neighborhoods, as you see here, and it's only going to get bigger from here on out," said Crystal Vance-Guerra of Occupy El Barrio.
Members of the Occupy movement are fighting against what they say is an imbalace in social and economic equality and the undue influence of big business on government. Occupy Chicago has aligned itself with another group, the Coalition Against NATO/G8, which plans protests in advance and in concert with the upcoming summit of NATO leaders, who they say "meet on behalf of the 1% of the world, the rich and the powerful, the bankers and generals."
The last large demonstration by Occupy Chicago was in November, when a crowd of several hundred people snaked through the loop during the evening rush hour, causing headaches for commuters and, at times, catching police off-guard.