Last Saturday, October 15th, over 200 people were arrested while assembling in Grant Park for a peaceful protest as part of the Occupy Chicago movement. Several GEO members were arrested as well and as such, an open letter to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and the Chicago City Council has been drafted, asking them to cease and desist in their harassment and arrests of the Occupy Chicago protestors, and to allow for the continued lawful, peaceful assembly of the protesters. The letter is attached below.
October 21, 2011
An open letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the Chicago City Council:
As trade unionists, we hold dear the right to organize, peaceably assemble and to engage in free speech. That is why we are appalled at the arrest of more than 200 protesters from Occupy Chicago in Grant Park on October 15–and why we demand that all charges be dropped immediately.
Since it began on Wall Street more than a month ago, the Occupy movement has inspired working people across the U.S. and indeed, in countries around the world. That’s because the Occupy movement has rightly focused attention on the issues faced by union and nonunion workers alike: unemployment, inequality, poverty and other social ills caused by the tremendous concentration of wealth in this country.
Occupy Chicago, led by young people whose future is threatened by economic decline, has done our city a service by bringing the debate on these questions to the fore. They have done so peaceably, and they have the right to establish an occupation in a prominent public place free from interference by police or politicians.
That is why we call on Mayor Emanuel, Police Superintendent McCarthy and the City Council to cease harassment and arrests of Occupy Chicago activists and welcome this vital discussion to our city.
The Steering Committee of the Graduate Employees’ Organization