Nurses volunteering at a first aid station for Occupy Chicago protesters were included in a mass arrest of over 100 people during a late-night crackdown at the encampment. The police officers removed all protester property from the site and tore down tents, including the first aid tent.
The action has been condemned by National Nurses United (NNU), the country’s largest union of nurses, which has set up first aid stations in five other occupied cities, including Occupy Wall Street in New York.
“Even in wartime, combatants respect the work of nurses and other first responders. Yet Mayor Emanuel and Chicago seem to care as little about that tradition as they do in protecting the constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro in a statement. “These arrests are disgraceful and unconscionable, and will not deter our nurses from continuing this mission, setting up the station again, and continuing to support the protests.”
On Monday morning, Occupiers showed their solidarity with the arrested nurses by joining members of NNU as they picketed the mayor’s office at Chicago’s City Hall.
The arrests occurred at approximately 1 am as Occupy Chicago participants attempted to rebuild their camp in Grant Park for the second time.
In many cities, police departments have been content to wave public park closing times and camping rules as long as protesters remain peaceful, respectful of non-protest pedestrians and do not disrupt the flow of vehicle traffic.
Emanuel has been perhaps the most aggressive mayor in the nation in repression of the occupy Wall Street movement with mass arrests on at least two occasions now. The Chicago Tribune Saturday reported that city officials are trying to send a message to world leaders of being “tough” on demonstrators in advance of upcoming meetings of G-8 and NATO leaders in May.
Image Credit: NNU