The OccuChi-er

A Visit to the NATO 5

July 31, 2012
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Free the NATO 5

Free the NATO 5

For someone who’s never been arrested, I sure spend a lot of time at Cook County Jail lately.

As part of Occupy Chicago’s ongoing jail solidarity effort for the NATO 5, who are facing terrorism charges, I have been attending as many court dates as my schedule allows.  Most of these court dates are just for updates, or to set new court dates, but being there is an important show of support.  At the first few I attended we pushed our luck a bit by standing and raising fists in solidarity, so much so that the judge has taken to reading a decorum order before calling any of their cases.  He claims it’s not really aimed at us, just meant as a point of information for “people who only know about court from TV,” but since it uses words like “conduct of solidarity” and “protest,” I tend to take it personally.

Here’s what a NATO 5 court decorum order looks like:

All persons in the courtroom must remain silent during all proceedings. There will be no talking, noise making, standing, kneeling, waving, hand raising or other conduct of solidarity, camaraderie, protest, approval or disapproval in the courtroom or in the hallway outside the courtroom.

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In the Middle and In Between: A NATO Retrospective

July 27, 2012
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NATO barricades

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Hayes

It’s quieter than you might expect.  I’m in the middle of a crowd of NATO protesters, and nothing is happening.

Not “nothing,” exactly.  We are marching, though it may be more accurate to describe it as trudging.  (To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a person who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.)

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Chalkupy Chicago

July 17, 2012
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Chalkupy Chicago

Chalkupy Chicago

The day after watching riot cops shoot rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of peaceful sidewalk chalk artists in LA, I bought the biggest box of chalk I could find.  I had a feeling I’d be putting it to good use soon, and I was right.

Saturday night, there was an unofficial call put out on Twitter for friends of Occupy Chicago to Chalkupy in solidarity with Occupy LA.  We have incorporated sidewalk chalk into other actions, most recently at the NATO summit protests and Occupy Independence on July 4th.  We’ve also had confrontations with CPD, most notably when a Bank of America security guard called them out because a small group of occupiers was eating a donated dinner and chalking messages of hope and peace on a street corner in Chicago’s financial district.  (In that instance, Streets and Sanitation came and power-washed it all away.)  Luckily, though, we’ve never had the kind of violent reaction seen in LA.

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