Occupy Chicago Takes on City Hall

Occupy Chicago marched back to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

Earlier this week the anti-Wall Street group joined registered nurses at City Hall to protest the arrests of two volunteer nurses and 130 protesters after Grant Park closed at 11 p.m. Saturday.

"Occupy City Hall" resumed at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to demand charges be dropped and city permits be allowed for protesters to occupy a permanent city location without arrests. They submitted a petition with 12,533 signatures from people in Chicago and around the world, said Micah Philbrook, a press liason for the Chicago movement.

Protestors also want Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to acknowledge their request for permits to demonstrate "within sight and sound" of the G8 and NATO summits in May 2012 in Chicago.

Occupy Chicago protesters say it's within their First Amendment rights to express their views, and unlike other cities, they plan to get it done without violence.

"We don't want any violence here," said an Occupy protester named Storm. "It's not what we're about, it's not what we're here to do. We're looking for a nice, calm interaction."

Emanuel said his administration has cooperated with the movement, not only allowing them to occupy public sidewalks near LaSalle and Jackson, but also assisting with traffic and crowd control during marches and opening lines of communication between police and organizers.

The mayor said he understands protesters' frustration and respects their right to speak their minds. Still, he said this week, it's a balancing act.

"People have their first amendment right," Emanuel said. "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."

Occupy Chicago said Wednesday afternoon their legal representatives, the National Lawyer's Guild, will meet with the City's Corporation Counsel Thursday to discuss a permanent location for the Occupation's home base.

“This movement is about building community," said Joshua Kaunert from Occupy Chicago in a statement, "and for that to happen, we need a home. We’re creating a forum for discussion, where grievances can be aired, engaging in the kind of constructive debate that no longer takes place in politics, or in the media."

After City Hall, protesters will stage a march around the Loop at 5 p.m. during rush hour.

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