Dozens of demonstrators dashed into the Loop building housing President Barack Obama‘s campaign headquarters this morning, slipping past security guards and running up escalators as they kicked off what they called a “Week Without Capitalism.”
Eight protesters were led out in handcuffs about half an hour later after they refused to clear the lobby. They were cheered by other demonstrators who began dancing and singing folk and gospel songs.
The demonstration, organized by the Catholic Worker movement. began with about 100 demonstrators picketing at Prudential Plaza and passing out rolls to commuters in what they called a symbolic invitation to break bread with world leaders expected here this weekend for the NATO summit.
After about 30 minutes marching and singing outside the building, the group tried to enter the building and reach Obama’s campaign offices around 8:30 a.m.
Guards locked the revolving doors, but protesters slipped through unlocked doors off to the sides. Some pushed past a security guard who tried to block their entry but quickly gave up as protesters poured through the doorway.
About a dozen uniformed Chicago police officers entered the lobby and stood quietly at the back of the protest group as a demonstrator on the second floor read a statement, echoed by the few dozen demonstrators in the lobby below.
Workers on their way to the escalators filed quietly through the lobby, most hardly taking notice of the demonstration.
“I was definitely expecting something like this this week, but I didn’t expect it to start now, on Monday,” said Matt Archambault, who came down from his office to watch the demonstrators. “It’s a good test to see how things are going to go the rest of the week.”
After the statement was read, most of the protesters filed out past the police, with one shaking hands with the building manager and a police lieutenant.
“Welcome to NATO,” the lieutenant said to the manager. “Let’s go see about (the people) on your balcony.”
A handful of protesters remained inside near the elevator banks to the upper floors and refused to leave when asked by the building manager and police. They were handcuffed and escorted out a side door, singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Catholic Worker stages protest at Obama headquarters in Chicago
May 14, 2012 by 22 Comments