175 arrested in Occupy Chicago protest

Chicago police carry away a protester at the Global Day of Occupation-Chicago March to Michigan and Congress, early Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Chicago. Police arrested 175 members of a group protesting corporate greed early Sunday after they refused to take down their tents and leave a city park when it closed. (AP Photo/Chicago Sun-Times, Scott Stewart) CHICAGO LOCALS OUT; MAGS OUT Scott Stewart

Last Updated 4:19 p.m. ET

CHICAGO - The early morning arrests of 175 members of a group demonstrating against corporate greed signified a new phase of civil disobedience for Chicago's wing of the movement, organizers said Sunday.

The arrests came after hundreds of members of Occupy Chicago refused to take down tents and leave Grant Park near the city's lakefront when it closed at 11 p.m. Saturday. Organizers did not seek a permit to be in the park after hours, saying they stayed because they need a home base for the growing movement.

"It was very much a choice and calculated," said Randy Powell, a 27-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who was arrested. "I feel like I had to."

Those arrested were cited with violating municipal code — being in the park after hours — and will have future court dates, police said. Several released from jail rested at a downtown church Sunday morning, taking a few moments to sleep or drink hot tea before heading back to a protest in the city's financial district.

Similar groups nationwide have set up bases in city parks with officials often working to accommodate them.

Throughout the U.S. — from several dozen people in Jackson, Mississippi, to some 2,000 each in Pittsburgh and Chicago — the protest movement has gained momentum.

In addition to the arrests in Chicago, 46 people in Phoenix were arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespass after refusing to leave a park, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said. And police said some protesters were arrested after they remained in a Tucson, Arizona, park past the 10:30 p.m. closing time. An exact number wasn't available Sunday.

In Colorado, at least two dozen people were arrested for refusing to move out of the street at a rally that attracted about 1,000 to downtown Denver, police said.

In Sacramento, Calif., noted anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was among those arrested.

Nearly 1,500 gathered for a march past banks in downtown Orlando, Florida. Hundreds marched on a Key Bank branch in Anchorage, Alaska, and declared it should be foreclosed.

Rallies drew young and old, laborers and retirees. In Pittsburgh, marchers included parents with children in strollers. The peaceful crowd stretched for two or three blocks.

"I see our members losing jobs. People are angry," said Janet Hill, 49, who works for the United Steelworkers labor union, which she said hosted a sign-making event before the march.

Retired teacher Albert Siemsen said at a demonstration in Milwaukee that he'd grown angry watching school funding get cut at the same time banks and corporations gained more influence in government. The 81-year-old wants to see tighter Wall Street regulation.

Around him, protesters held signs reading: "Keep your corporate hands off my government," and "Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall Street."

In Canada, demonstrators gathered in cities across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia, with hundreds of people protesting in the heart of Toronto's financial district. Some protesters spent the night at parks in Toronto and several other cities.

Overseas, tens of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched in cities across Europe, as the protests that began in New York linked up with long-running demonstrations against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies in Europe. Protesters also turned out in Australia, Asia and South Africa.

Elsewhere in the United States this weekend, Des Moines police said an assault at an Occupy Iowa camp-out was a random act unrelated to the nationwide protest movement.

Sgt. Jeff Phillips said three or four young men saw the group gathered at Stuart Square Park early Sunday morning and decided to cause trouble. The men reportedly entered the camp about 2:30 a.m. and started a fight, punching two protesters and asking for money.

Police confirmed that two people suffered minor injuries. No arrests were made.

In Minneapolis Sheriff's deputies tore down several tents erected by Occupy Minnesota demonstrators on the plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center, but there were no arrests.

Occupy Iowa members reached a deal with Des Moines' mayor Friday to move from the state Capitol to a city park, avoiding arrests. Plans to temporarily evict New York protesters from a park so the grounds could be power-washed were postponed at the request of political leaders.

But Chicago protesters said they've had no such luck with Chicago officials. Some organizers said they haven't had encouraging conversations with city officials, but they haven't applied for permits either.

"We believe we have the right as an international movement to secure a space where we can interact with the public and grow our occupation," organizer Rachael Perrotta said Sunday.

A message left for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office wasn't immediately returned

Occupy Chicago began its protest more than 20 days ago as a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City. The group started small, with about 20 to 25 people a day holding homemade signs outside the U.S. Federal Bank building.

The group has since grown steadily, with about 100 to 150 people attending the group's daily general assembly meetings, and protesters say thousands attended some of the larger rallies. A website informs members about upcoming meetings, marches and other events. It has a Facebook page with more than 23,000 likes, and a Twitter handle with more than 14,000 followers.

The group's sudden growth has made volunteers revamp their organization in recent days. They have committees that handle issues ranging from dwindling supplies to housing concerns.

"If we're going to continue this we need to stake out a home base," said protester Karen Looney, 26.

The movement has spread to other parts of Illinois. Demonstrations were held Saturday in Peoria and Springfield, where hundreds chanted and marched through downtown streets. The mostly liberal Peoria group included some supporters of Texas Republican and presidential candidate Ron Paul, a favorite of libertarians.

The scene in Chicago late Saturday night was described as energetic after a demonstration that organizers say drew at least 2,000 people earlier in the day. Protesters linked arms to form a human chain and yelled "The whole world is watching!" as the event was streamed online and tweeted.

Chicago police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said there were no reports of violence.

Police offered individual protesters the choice of leaving or being arrested. The arrests started shortly before 2 a.m., and without enough police cars and wagons, officers put protesters on Chicago Transit Authority buses to take them to jail. Most were released by Sunday morning.

David Orlikoff, 22, of Chicago, was among those arrested. The Columbia College student said the group doesn't intend to provoke a confrontation but will use civil disobedience "when we feel it's appropriate."

He said he's disappointed Emanuel didn't intervene to allow the protest to continue. When police reached him, Orlikoff said he had to make a decision.

"I thought that I believed in it and I was the one who was there doing it and who else was going to get arrested but me?" he said.

In Sacramento, Calif., noted anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was among those arrested.

Elsewhere in the United States this weekend, Des Moines police said an assault at an Occupy Iowa camp-out was a random act unrelated to the nationwide protest movement.,/P>

Sgt. Jeff Phillips said three or four young men saw the group gathered at Stuart Square Park early Sunday morning and decided to cause trouble. The men reportedly entered the camp about 2:30 a.m. and started a fight, punching two protesters and asking for money.

Police confirmed that two people suffered minor injuries. No arrests were made.

In Minneapolis Sheriff's deputies tore down several tents erected by Occupy Minnesota demonstrators on the plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center, but there were no arrests.

About 75 members of Occupy Pittsburgh said it plans a protest against BNY Mellon this week. The protesters spent the night in a downtown park after a march Saturday.

Twenty people were arrested following a demonstration that drew 400 people to North Carolina's State Capitol in Raleigh. Police said the people arrested - ranging in age from 20 to 66 - had refused to leave the Capitol grounds hours after their demonstration was scheduled to end. They were charged with second-degree trespassing. A similar protest in Greensboro drew about 600 on Saturday, police said, while more than 80 people in Wilmington protested outside the Bank of America building downtown.

Demonstrations were also held in Tulsa, Okla., where about 150 people marched; Richmond, Va., where about 300 people marched to a downtown plaza to start what they said would be a local occupation in the heart of the capital city's financial district; Charleston, Va., and Charlottesville, Va.

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