On Saturday, beneath a pristine blue sky the protesters, railing against disproportional corporate power and greed, gathered at the end of La Sallestreet in downtown Chicago, just as they have now for more than three weeks.
With the Chicago effort, which is active now in every major city nation wide, there have been no arrests. But police are slowly and steadily tightening that noose around the peaceful multi-cultural cross-section of the other 99%. An incident Saturday clearly shows where the City and police stand with regard to the protests.
The streets along La Salle and Jackson are lined with metal barricades, corralling protesters onto the sidewalk. Wooden barricades surround one end of the Federal Reserve Bank, further restrictions to prevent these citizen activists from even touching the building. Within that narrow corridor protesters are cautioned about disrupting or impeding passersby(How far we’ve fallen from Jefferson’s whole “blood of tyrants” thing that the Tea Party constantly referenced). All in all it serves to ultimately restrict the number of people who can gather and protest. The implicit threat of imminent arrest- and at times overt warnings- for leaving the corrals or lingering too long in the street are seen in the cordon of police present at the protests. Now the police are stopping and ticketing drivers who honk their horn in solidarity-clearly an infringement of their First Ammendment rights to free speech.
The protest isn’t banned, yet, that would be unconstitutional, but the powers now owned by corporations and big money will do their best to strangle it through the strategic use of local statutes. The police are not there to facilitate the asserted freedom of the protesters, but rather as a potential heavy hand to the corporatists. Here’s a prime example.
It was just after 3pm Saturday when nearly a dozen young men in black tie tuxedos strode down the middle of La Salle Street, fully ignored by police, who had to do everything but cover their eyes not to see what was happening. This group went directly to the largest and loudest cluster of citizen activists to loudly and obnoxiously mock, harass and berate them. Still, there was absolutely no reaction from the police. Even when the men turned and walked down the middle of the street-again where protesters are prohibited from going, the police did nothing.
Sadly it is obvious that the City and police do not act in the service of the law, but in the interests of the corporations and the power elite. It underscores the crucial need to win over the police, the military, fire men and women and any working class group that is part of the 99%-whether they realize they are part or not. They must be reminded that their paychecks, pensions and benefits come from the people, and are not merely incentives from the corporatists, as if the police and government were their hired mercenaries or servants.