Chicago police arrest 130 OWS protestors - Where are all the '99 percenters?'
Grant Park in Chicago after 1:00 am is not a safe place. That's why there's a city ordanance that decrees the park closed after that hour.
But the Chicago OWS protesters wanted to occupy the park anyway and 130 of them were arrested for their trouble.
Chicago police arrested about 130 Occupy Chicago protesters starting about 1 a.m. today after the group returned to Grant Park for the second weekend Saturday night and tried to maintain a camp in the park after its official closing time.
Police estimated that the crowd that showed up for a rally earlier in the evening peaked at around 3,000 people by the time protesters arrived in Congress Plaza at Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway after a march from Federal Plaza in the Loop.
As the 11 p.m. park closing approached, more than 100 people decided to stay in Congress Plaza in the park as several hundred more moved onto a nearby sidewalk or across Michigan Avenue, off park district property. Police announced several times that anyone still in the park would be arrested, and by midnight, about 100 people remained in the plaza, which had been cordoned off with police barricades.
The plaza was cleared by about 2:40 a.m., with about 130 people arrested, said Central Police District Cmdr. Christopher Kennedy. A few hundred people remained on sidewalks on the east and west sides of Michigan Avenue for a short time after the arrests ended, but most left by about 3 a.m. Those taken into custody were taken away in police vans and sheriff's department buses for booking at police district stations.
If their goal was to goad the police into an incident of violence, they failed miserably. No mace or netting was needed - just a little application of common sense and restraint by the cops.
The Chicago OWS is far more radical than their New York counterparts. But the fact that only 3,000 people showed up for a protest on a lovely Saturday evening in one of the largest cities in the world begs the question:
Where are all the "99 percenters?"
If this is a "growing" movement, why are the crowds staying the same size or getting smaller? Despite glowing and massive media coverage, OWS is failing in its fundamental mission; arouse the populace to join them in protesting against "greedy corporations" and the power of Wall Street. Why else have a protest movement except to get the people to join you in your cause by raising awareness? The fact that they aren't drawing massive, enthusiastic crowds of like minded protestors is a dead giveaway that the radicalism and extremism of the organizers and many of the protestors has scared away mainstream liberals and independents who might sympathize with some of the announced goals of the occupation but who wouldn't be caught dead standing shoulder to shoulder with anarchists and Communists.
As time goes on, their rallying cry of "We are the 99%" becomes more and more ironic - even silly. It will be interesting to see this "game changing" movement once winter sets in. We are likely to see the press and even Democratic politicians who praised this movement to the skies when it first came into being, tip-toe away in embarrassment as the movement falls apart as a result of its inherent radicalism and internal contradictions.