Occupy activists try to lift spirits of jailed comrades | WBEZ
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Occupy activists try to lift spirits of jailed comrades

An Occupy Chicago activist Wednesday heads from the Cook County Criminal Courthouse after a hearing for two NATO protesters facing bomb-related charges. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)

Sebastian Senakiewicz and Mark Neiweem are getting less public attention than three other NATO protesters jailed on bomb-related charges. But Occupy Chicago activists on Wednesday pulled off a defiant display inside a Cook County courtroom to let the two know they are not going it alone.

The scene was a hearing at which prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted Senakiewicz, 24, and Neiweem, 28, for allegedly talking about building explosives to wreak havoc during the military alliance’s summit in Chicago last month. Two or three diligent reporters were on hand but not a single television camera. The media “pen” — a cordoned section of the courthouse lobby — was barren.

The courtroom, though, was full of Occupy activists willing to buck warnings from a beefy sheriff’s officer against creating any sort of spectacle.

After the hearing, as Senakiewicz and Neiweem were led to the courtroom’s side door, their Occupy comrades made their move. There were just a few seconds for the defendants to get a glimpse of the gallery and, when they did, they saw a dozen fists in the air.

“They can waive back to us in solidarity and they can feel that love and support that our whole movement has for them,” said Rachael Perrotta, one of the Occupy activists.

Prosecutors last month charged Senakiewicz with falsely making a terrorist threat and Neiweem with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge set their bonds at, respectively, $750,000 and $500,000 — amounts their attorneys say will keep them locked up.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set their next court appearance for July 2.

The Occupy activists vowed to be there.

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