Thousands in Chicago protest financial industry
By Mary Wisniewski and Ann Saphir
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Thousands of people including teachers, religious leaders and union workers marched in downtown Chicago on Monday to voice mounting anger over joblessness and income inequality in protests that snarled rush-hour traffic.
Chanting "We are the 99 percent" and "Tax, tax, tax the rich," some demonstrators marched on Michigan Avenue and gathered outside the Chicago Art Institute where a U.S. futures industry trade group was holding an evening cocktail reception.
Others marched outside a luxury hotel near to where the American Mortgage Bankers Association was holding a meeting downtown.
Five separate "feeder marches" -- which converged into one giant march up Michigan Ave -- were inspired by, but not formally affiliated with, the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month and sparked smaller protests nationwide.
Police estimated a crowd of around 3,000 protesters at the events, organized by the "Stand Up Chicago" coalition with the stated goal of reclaiming "our jobs, our homes and our schools," according to the group's website.
"We really want to highlight the role the financial industry has played," said Adam Kader of Arise Chicago, an interfaith workers' rights group and part of the coalition.
"They're here in our backyard, so this is the time to send a message about how we're really hurting," he added, saying the demonstration would focus on foreclosures, unemployment and lack of municipal funding for key services.
Police arrested 26 demonstrators, many wearing Chicago Teachers Union T-shirts, who linked arms and sat down in Monroe Street as they chanted "Save our schools, save our homes!" They were ticketed and released. Another demonstrator was arrested and faces a charge of battery on a police officer. Continued...