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Chicago takes to the streets

by Aaron 11:11am Tue May 2 '00
a-akins@chicagoactivism.org

Chicago anarchists and other protesters take to the streets to celebrate International Worker's Day.

Marches took place all over downtown Chicago yesterday. Some were authorized and some were not. At 8am a protest outside the board of trade drew about 100 people, mostly radicals (anarchists, socialists and Wobblies among others). The protesters marched up and down the financial district protesting with songs and chants. When they were finished they marched to meet with other protesters for the main march down Michigan Avenue.

An anarchist contingent of abou 65 people met outside the Board of Trade at noon. We played soccer outside the BOT until our ball was taken away by the cops (at which point the crowd picked up the chant, "get your own balls"). In addition, the radical cheerleaders entertained us with cheers about "what to do if you get arrested" and other favorites. We then marched (on sidewalks) to the main rally at Tribune Plaza. The police were keeping us off the streets and from crossing crosswalks against red lights. About four blocks from the rally we took to the streets and walked with traffic down Michigan Avenue until we reached the main rally. The police on bicycles were attempting to intimidate people by running their bikes into protesters heels.

After numerous speeches at the main rally, a march set out for Daley plaza to address police brutality. We saw some first hand instances of police brutallity when anarchists at the front of the march tried to break police lines. Some protesters didn't like the police babysitting us on our day of celebration. The police resonded by hitting people with their nightsicks, and in one instance, with a patrol bicycle. Once at Daley plaza we listened to a plethora of speeches as CPD officers took picures and video of us. Food Not Bombs served refreshments during the speeches.

Daley Plaza was suppose to be the end of the march, but we wanted to march to the courthouse where the Haymarket Martyrs were hung. So the anarchist contingent, along with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Network and some others started out. We walked the wrong way down a one way steet, through traffic, and the police just stood by. At one point a couple people darted off the course we were taking, trying to take the march in a different direction (to confuse the police i'm sure). They were promptly arrested. I'm sure the police were horribly upset that we hadn't destroyed any property yet, and they probably didn't think they'd have another chance to arrest anyone. We occupied the street adjacent to the alley where the four anarchists were hung. Someone gave a short speech about the history of the location. After some pro-anarchy chanting, we decided to retire to a nearby park. The entire time we were at the courthouse, the police were circled around us (we were only about 80 people at this point). It was a little creepy.

All in all the day was a success. With no sensational news like window breaking or burning dumpsters to report, the local news gave the protests very little coverage. Strangely enough, the night before the news networks were insinuating that the protests would be violent and unruly. The anarchists were still refered to as rabble-rousers on the Monday evening news. In addition, the Chicago Tribune quoted some union guy as saying that the anarchists would overshadow the real meaning of May Day (the labor stuggle). How ridiculous is that? Anyway, everyone should shed a tear for the CPD. They didn't get their riot, and we took our streets from them.

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From:  http://www.infoshop.org

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