WBEZ | protesters http://www.wbez.org/tags/protesters Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicagoans rally to protest Trayvon Martin verdict http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-rally-protest-trayvon-martin-verdict-108048 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Protesters 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thousands of demonstrators from across the country &mdash; chanting, praying and even fighting tears &mdash; protested a jury&#39;s decision to clear neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager while the Justice Department considered whether to file criminal civil rights charges.</p><p>Rallies on Sunday were largely peaceful as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin&#39;s family and decried Zimmerman&#39;s not guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice. Police in Los Angeles said they arrested several people early Monday after about 80 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and an unlawful assembly was declared. The New York Police Department said it arrested at least a dozen people on disorderly conduct charges during a rally in Times Square.</p><p>The NAACP and protesters called for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday in Martin&#39;s February 2012 shooting death.</p><p>The Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case. The department opened an investigation into Martin&#39;s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.</p><p>The evidence generated during the federal probe is still being evaluated by the criminal section of the Justice Department&#39;s civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. attorney&#39;s office for the Middle District of Florida, along with evidence and testimony from the state trial, the Justice Department said.</p><p>Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and religious and civil rights leaders urged calm in hopes of ensuring peaceful demonstrations following a case that became an emotional flash point.</p><p>Sunday&#39;s demonstrations, held in cities from Florida to Wisconsin, attracted anywhere from a few dozen people to a more than a thousand.</p><p>At a march and rally in downtown Chicago attended by about 200 people, some said the verdict was symbolic of lingering racism in the United States. Seventy-three-year-old Maya Miller said the case reminded her of the 1955 slaying of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago who was murdered by a group of white men while visiting Mississippi. Till&#39;s killing galvanized the civil rights movement.</p><p>&quot;Fifty-eight years and nothing&#39;s changed,&quot; Miller said, pausing to join a chant for &quot;Justice for Trayvon, not one more.&quot;</p><p>In New York City, more than a thousand people marched into Times Square on Sunday night, zigzagging through Manhattan&#39;s streets to avoid police lines. Sign-carrying marchers thronged the busy intersection, chanting &quot;Justice for! Trayvon Martin!&quot; as they made their way from Union Square, blocking traffic for more than an hour before moving on.</p><p>In San Francisco and Los Angeles, where an earlier protest was dispersed with beanbag rounds, police closed streets as protesters marched Sunday to condemn Zimmerman&#39;s acquittal.</p><p>Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged protesters to &quot;practice peace&quot; after the rock- and bottle-throwing incident. Later, more than 100 officers in riot gear converged on the crowd and ordered people to disperse. Police said they made seven arrests throughout the day, The Los Angeles Times reported.</p><p>Rand Powdrill, 41, of San Leandro, Calif., said he came to the San Francisco march with about 400 others to &quot;protest the execution of an innocent black teenager.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If our voices can&#39;t be heard, then this is just going to keep going on,&quot; he said.</p><p>Earlier, at Manhattan&#39;s Middle Collegiate Church, many congregants wore hooded sweatshirts &mdash; similar to the one Martin was wearing the night he was shot &mdash; in a show of solidarity. Hoodie-clad Jessica Nacinovich said she could only feel disappointment and sadness over the verdict.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m sure jurors did what they felt was right in accordance with the law but maybe the law is wrong, maybe society is wrong; there&#39;s a lot that needs fixing,&quot; she said.</p><p>At a youth service in Sanford, Fla., where the trial was held, teens wearing shirts displaying Martin&#39;s picture wiped away tears during a sermon at the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.</p><p>Protesters also gathered in Atlanta, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., along with a host of other cities.</p><p>In Miami, more than 200 people gathered for a vigil. &quot;You can&#39;t justify murder,&quot; read one poster. Another read &quot;Don&#39;t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans.&quot;</p><p>Carol Reitner, 76, of Miami, said she heard about the vigil through an announcement at her church Sunday morning. &quot;I was really devastated. It&#39;s really hard to believe that someone can take the life of someone else and walk out of court free,&quot; she said.</p><p>In Philadelphia, about 700 protesters marched from LOVE Park to the Liberty Bell, alternating between chanting Trayvon Martin&#39;s name and &quot;No justice, no peace!&quot;</p><p>&quot;We hope this will begin a movement to end discrimination against young black men,&quot; said Johnathan Cooper, one of the protest&#39;s organizers. &quot;And also to empower black people and get them involved in the system.&quot;</p><p>In Atlanta, a crowd of about 75 protesters chanted and carried signs near Centennial Olympic Park.</p><p>&quot;I came out today because a great deal of injustice has been done and I&#39;m very disappointed at our justice system; I&#39;m just disappointed in America,&quot; said Tabatha Holley, 19, of Atlanta.</p><p>Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, urged peace in the wake of the verdict. Jackson said the legal system &quot;failed justice,&quot; but violence isn&#39;t the answer.</p><p>But not all the protesters heeded those calls immediately after the verdict.</p><p>In Oakland, Calif., during protests that began late Saturday night, some angry demonstrators broke windows, burned U.S. flags and started street fires. Some marchers also vandalized a police squad car and used spray paint to scrawl anti-police graffiti on roads and Alameda County&#39;s Davidson courthouse.</p></p> Sun, 14 Jul 2013 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-rally-protest-trayvon-martin-verdict-108048 NATO protest fizzles in final hours http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protest-fizzles-final-hours-99407 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS5835_IMG_0750-scr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>NATO summit protests ended slowly but peacefully in downtown Chicago Monday evening near Grant Park.&nbsp;In the summit&rsquo;s final hours, protesters moved away from international issues to focus on domestic ones, primarily immigration.</p><p>It marked perhaps for the first time since protest began last week that protesters found a common theme.&nbsp;Monday&rsquo;s protest kicked off in the morning near the headquarters of Boeing.&nbsp;It moved midday outside the campaign headquarters for President Barack Obama at the Prudential Building near Randolph and Michigan.</p><p>Police put the crowd at 300 to 400 people. &nbsp;</p><p>Protesters spent much of the afternoon chanting, dancing and overall held a peaceful demonstration. Around 3:30 p.m., protesters began their march through the streets of the South Loop, snarling traffic and chanting various slogans.</p><p>Marchers paused for several minutes at the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue and shouted support to striking union hotel workers.&nbsp;Eventually, protesters made their way outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to protest deportations of illegal immigrants and the proposed building of a detention center in far south suburban Crete.</p><p>Dozens of Chicago police, some riding bikes, some wearing riot gear, surrounded the marchers, but allowed them to move on without incident.&nbsp;The march ended at Michigan and Congress with more speeches about NATO and police brutality.</p><p>One person shouted, &ldquo;The police brutality I witness yesterday (Sunday), was the worst police brutality I had ever experienced. Don&rsquo;t let them get away with it!&rdquo;</p><p>Earlier in the day, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy scoffed at such reports that some of his offices exercised brutality Sunday night following a march at 22<sup>nd</sup> and Cermak.</p><p>&quot;Quite frankly, I think that the department did an amazing job in showing the restraint and professionalism that we expect from officers,&quot; McCarthy said.</p><p>In all, McCarthy said, his officers made about 90 arrests of protesters over the last few days. By comparison, he said, Pittsburgh police arrested more than 140 when the G-8 summit met there a few years ago.</p><p>When asked why he chose to be so visible during the summit, often standing side-by-side with his officers in tense situation, McCarthy said he had no choice.</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, I&rsquo;m a police officer. I&rsquo;m out here with the guys and gals on the line and enjoying it. And, at the same time, if I&rsquo;m responsible for what&rsquo;s happening, I have to lead from the front. I can&rsquo;t behind closed doors saying &lsquo;Oh my god, what&rsquo;s going on,&#39;&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m privileged to be here is what it boils down to.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 21 May 2012 22:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-protest-fizzles-final-hours-99407 The mindset of a cop and a protester going into NATO weekend http://www.wbez.org/news/mindset-cop-and-protester-going-nato-weekend-99271 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/NATO arrest May 15 AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There&#39;s a lot of speculation about whether there will be violence between police and protesters in Chicago over the next few days, so we decided to talk to a cop and a protester about what they&rsquo;re expecting this weekend.</p><p>Sergeant Richard Williams, (a pseudonym we&#39;re using because he didn&#39;t get permission from the brass to talk to us) said a few months ago he went through eight hours of training for the NATO protests this weekend. He said the officers will start in soft uniform, regular pants and shirts and hats, no riot gear.</p><p>&ldquo;You just can&#39;t go in there as this big militant force flexing your muscle because they already don&#39;t like us. They&#39;re really not gonna like you if you do that,&rdquo; Williams said.</p><p>His training also focused on a soft approach to crowd control.</p><p>&ldquo;How to move and how to keep people back. It&#39;s with less lethal force. It&#39;s just a matter of pushing &#39;em back,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You&#39;re not hitting them.&nbsp; You&#39;re not trying to arrest them. You&#39;re letting them do what they want to do and shove you, whatever, you don&#39;t want to become confrontational with them but you just want to contain them and allow them to continue on their way.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams talks about the protesters and protecting their First Amendment rights to free speech. He&#39;s intent on not escalating situations, but a more passive role is clearly at odds with how he&#39;s used to operating as a cop.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The way the city&#39;s approaching it and it&#39;s a hard thing to understand because being the police, it&#39;s like, we never want to let anybody get into our personal space,&quot; he said. &quot;We always want a certain distance between us and them because we need that as a safety gap but at the same time understand what they say, you can&#39;t go out there, you can&#39;t go like you&#39;re ready to fight and you want to fight them because you will fight.&nbsp; It&#39;s inevitable you&#39;ll start the fight yourself.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams said officers did get some training on how to handle more aggressive protestors. He said they watched videos of protests that turned violent with people throwing soup cans at police, and they&#39;re also bracing for the rather strange possibility of being hit by bottles of urine and bags of feces.</p><p>&ldquo;Your natural instinct, just as a human being would be like, &#39;You can&#39;t do that, you&#39;re going to jail for that.&nbsp; I&#39;m going to get you and I&#39;m arresting you because that&#39;s wrong!&nbsp; That&#39;s just wrong!&rdquo; Williams said.</p><p>Sergeant Williams says police want to focus their arrests on individuals, not whole crowds. He says he and other officers have been trained to work as extraction teams who assume special formations to go into the crowd and remove individual provocateurs. But Williams said if someone throws something at the cops and then disappears into the crowd, it would be foolish to follow them because the officers will be far outnumbered by protesters.</p><p>&ldquo;There&#39;s people around you that are waiting at a moment&#39;s notice to jump into this fight.&nbsp; So, it&#39;s no longer one guy that threw this and one policeman.&nbsp; It&#39;s a multitude of people and it just snowballs and turns into a huge fight,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Standing opposite the cops at a protest on Sunday will be Andy Thayer, one of the lead organizers of the anti-NATO protests.</p><p>&ldquo;The city really ramped up the fear factor and basically herded a lot of people out of town,&rdquo; Thayer said.</p><p>Thayer says there&#39;s been a lot of hype about what the protesters will do. Historically, he said, it&#39;s been the police who kicked off the violence and the overwhelming majority of demonstrators are peaceful. He allows there may be some who want to be violent or stoke a confrontation with police by throwing bags of feces or urine, but he said protestors have devised plans to deal with those people, though he wouldn&#39;t elaborate.</p><p>&ldquo;We&#39;re cognizant of our responsibilities for our fellow protesters and our fellow Chicagoans. We have a large team of people that are prepared to deal with either potential violence issues or actual violence,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Thayer says he&#39;s bothered by the fact that the local media have concentrated on the mechanics of the NATO summit and the mechanics of the protests instead of the message of the protesters.</p><p>&ldquo;Why the focus on the issue of violence here in the United States?&nbsp; Are we so narcissistic?&nbsp; The violence that we see at NATO&#39;s behest, we have a conscience, government policy of violence and it&#39;s about time we started that problem of violence, which surely overshadows anything that&#39;s going to happen in the streets of Chicago over the next few days,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Both Thayer and Sergeant Williams say they want the protesters to be able to march peacefully. And both say they have plans and means to identify and isolate protesters who are violent.</p></p> Thu, 17 May 2012 19:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mindset-cop-and-protester-going-nato-weekend-99271 CPS Inspector General to investigate paid protesters http://www.wbez.org/story/cps-inspector-general-investigate-paid-protesters-95843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20080324_cmitchell_Scho_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Public Schools watchdog is investigating why people have been paid to speak out in support of school closings. The school district's Inspector General said they're looking to verify whether that's true, and if so - if it's legal.</p><p>Pastors who support school closings have been paying busloads of people around $20 each to hold signs and read scripts at public hearings. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has deflected questions from the press about it.</p><p>"I'm not speaking on it - I'm speaking about the fact that the ministers care about their schools and care about their community," Emanuel said at a Wednesday press conference.</p><p>In the past, clergy have spoken out against school closings. But this year marks the first time clergy have come out in force supporting the actions.</p></p> Thu, 26 Jan 2012 13:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cps-inspector-general-investigate-paid-protesters-95843 Wisconsin governor interrupted by protest http://www.wbez.org/story/wisconsin-governor-interrupted-protest-93735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/protestors pre protest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was in Illinois Thursday giving advice on budget reform. But his speech was interrupted by Chicago protestors.</p><p>About 30 protesters chanted sayings like, "Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go" and marched with signs in front of the Union League Club starting around 7:30 a.m.</p><p>Meanwhile, about 60 more protesters in suits and ties were sitting obediently at tables during Walker's breakfast talk.</p><p>The Republican governor kicked off his speech by joking about sports, noting how Illinois and Wisconsin both hate the Minnesota Vikings. Then one of the protesters jumped up, yelling, "Mic check!" The other protesters repeated him while Walker and the rest of the room took in what was happening.</p><p>The group, composed of Occupy Chicago protestors and members of the consortium Stand Up! Chicago, used one another like human megaphones. One protester would shout a line out from their collective speech and the rest would repeat it. When Union League workers and Gov. Walker's handlers approached each standing protester delivering their line, another would then pop up and pick up where the speech left off. That process continued for about five minutes until the protesters were ushered out.&nbsp;</p><p>As the chant started, Walker at first tried to continue his talk over the chanting. When it became clear they would not stop, the emcee stepped in and attempted to shout over them, asking them to leave. The rest of the crowd also began clapping to drown out the sound of the protesters, and gave him a standing ovation once the protesters were escorted out of the room.</p><p>Protesters paid the $20 for tickets for each of their seats. Catherine Murrell, the communications coordinator for Stand Up! Chicago said most protesters paid out of pocket, but anyone who could not afford to pay had their ticket paid for by a pool of money collected by Stand Up! Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>No arrests were made.</p><p>Walker continued his talk after protesters cleared out, touting Wisconsin's reforms and slamming Illinois Democrats for the state's budget problems. &nbsp;</p><p>Walker mentioned the possibility of getting recalled as governor and said he welcomes the challenge. He also said he could use Illinois government officials' handling of the state's budget crisis as a case study for what not to do.</p><p>"Illinois raised taxes earlier this year, rather substantially on both employers and individuals, and instead they didn't solve the budget crisis, Walker said. "They didn't solve their long-term structural crisis."</p><p>Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he does not wish to follow Walker's lead. Quinn has frequently criticized the Wisconsin governor for being unfair to unions.</p></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 18:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/wisconsin-governor-interrupted-protest-93735 Occupy Chicago looking for place to set up camp http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-chicago-looking-place-set-camp-93215 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-18/AP111003030082.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Organizers of the Occupy Chicago movement are looking for a place to set up tents and a make-shift headquarters as weather gets colder.</p><p>An Occupy Chicago spokesperson said Monday the group is looking for a permanent location where participants can stay and sleep as the protest continues.</p><p>Organizers have spent the past three weeks picketing in the Loop across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, but due to city municipal ordinances, are not allowed to make camp at the location. This weekend, the Chicago Police Department said they arrested 175 protestors who sat in Grant Park after closing hours.</p><p>"We are looking for a more permanent home," said Megan Goves, a press liaison for the Occupy movement.&nbsp;"That is what we were attempting to do on Saturday night."&nbsp;</p><p>Micah Philbrook, an Occupy Chicago organizer, said finding a site is essential as the number of protestors continues to grow.</p><p>"We want to have a tent city," said Philbrook. "We want to have a place that we can set up and start creating the change that we want to be in society, and so moving forward that's one of our main goals."</p><p>Philbrook said Grant Park would be an ideal location to camp, but that organizers are considering other downtown parks and even warehouses as potential sites. He said protesters will continue to assemble in front of downtown Chicago's Federal Reserve Bank with or without the camp site.</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 20:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-chicago-looking-place-set-camp-93215 Crackdown in Bahrain continues http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-17/crackdown-bahrain-continues-83870 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-17/109357300.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not unlike in Libya, the monarchy in Bahrain has cracked down on protestors with foreign fighters. &nbsp;King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa has invited in troops from Saudi Arabia and imposed three months of martial law. President Obama&rsquo;s called the kings of both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and urged &ldquo;maximum restraint.&rdquo; But Amesty International says the regime&rsquo;s use of excessive force is worse than in February. Persian Gulf expert <a target="_blank" href="http://www.mei.edu/Scholars/JosephK%C3%A9chichian.aspx">Joe Kechichian</a> is in Saudi Arabia and offers his view of the situation.</p></p> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 17:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-17/crackdown-bahrain-continues-83870 Chicago protesters call for Egypt's Mubarak to step down http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-protesters-call-egypts-mubarak-step-down <p><p>Protesters waving Egyptian flags picketed in front of the Egyptian consulate in downtown Chicago Saturday, calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down amid riots in the country.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Protesters along Michigan Avenue chanted, &quot;Hey Mubarak you will see, all Egyptians will be free.&quot; They held signs that said &quot;Victory to the Egyptian people&quot; and &quot;Freedom and Justice for all Egyptians.&quot;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Protester Basma Hassan of Chicago said she is of Egyptian descent and has family in Egypt. The 35-year-old student and mother waved an Egyptian flag, saying she wants to show she supports the Egyptian people. She said the situation in Egypt is &quot;getting out of control.&quot;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Thousands in Egypt have been protesting for five days in a rejection of President Hosni Mubarak.</p></p> Sun, 30 Jan 2011 16:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-protesters-call-egypts-mubarak-step-down