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Mass arrests at ‘Occupy’ protest in Chicago

Published time: October 16, 2011 18:07
Edited time: October 16, 2011 22:48

A demonstrator leads a chant during a protest march down Michigan Avenue (Scott Olson / Getty Images / AFP)

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An estimated 175 people were arrested by police in Chicago early on Sunday, a day that saw protests spread out from the US to Australia, Asia and Europe.

­In Chicago, roughly one-tenth of the 2,000 protesters were arrested after refusing to leave Grant Park after it closed for the day. The park famously served as the site for anti-Vietnam War protests during the 1968 Democratic convention.

The march started early Saturday evening with a rally outside the Federal Reserve Bank, and was part of what was being called a “Global Day of Occupation.” The protesters then made their way to the park, where they set up tents.

Chicago police officers said they repeatedly warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they refused to leave the park after it closed at 11 p.m. The warnings, however, were ignored, and about 90 minutes after police first warned the group that they were violating municipal code, the arrests began.

"It's our duty to defend our rights, our right to peacefully assemble," one protester, Brit Schulte, told the Chicago Tribune. "This is our park, and they're trying to take it away from us. We shouldn't be arrested right now."

The protesters will likely be cited for municipal violations and face fines, police said.

The protesters have rallied at the Federal Reserve for the last three weeks around the clock. They have not exhibited any violence, though many shout that the police are "the instruments of the 1 percent," referring to the movement's popular refrain.

The Chicago protest was just one in a series of demonstrations that the US and the world have witnessed in the past five weeks. Protests were held in dozens of cities, including Washington, Boston, Chicago, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.

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