CHICAGO, MAY 2, 2012— Normally masked men rob banks. Today, they protested and blocked the doors to Bank of America in Chicago. Occupy Chicago kicked off My Day and Chicago Spring by protesting and blocking access to two Bank of America branches in the Loop, 201 S. State Street and 33 N Dearborn.
The day started in the Financial District, at Jackson and Lasalle streets with a meeting and rally. From there the protesters proceeded to the State Street location. They blocked access to the bank. The Chicago Police Department Bicycle Unit put themselves between the entrance and the protesters. A few customers were allowed entry to the bank, but for the most part the bank was shut down during the protest.
Around forty-five minutes later they marched to the Dearborn location. Again, the police kept them from denying access to customers of the bank.
A short while later the real march started. Occupy Chicago was going to meet up with groups supporting illegal immigration and their union advocates in Union Park, two miles west. Then, all the various groups of protesters were to march back into the Loop and meet for a rally at Federal Plaza.
The marchers were peaceful but persisted in marching in the street, contrary to police orders. They especially enjoyed marching against traffic on busy one-way streets.
While unruly, vulgar, profane, and obscene- marks of the true professional protester- they were for the most part peaceful. There were no arrests at the bank protests or on the two-mile march to Union Park.
There was also a group of Black Bloc participants. Some marched as a group, arm in arm, leading the protest. Others were first aid personnel.
The protests are being described as a rehearsal for the NATO conference in three weeks. Though these protests were large, consisting of organized labor, illegal immigrant advocates, and the Occupy Movement, the NATO summit may draw protesters from across the country and around the world.
While it appeared that the Chicago Police were trying to herd cats during the marches, they acted in a professional manner. No arrests were reported as of this writing.
Compared to other cities, where arrests, vandalism, and bomb threats were reported, Chicago’s May Day went off peacefully in a purposeful orderly disorderly fashion.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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