Registered nurses from across the U.S. today condemned Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his decision to arrest nurse volunteers, as well as peaceful protesters, in a late night crackdown Saturday night at the Occupy Chicago protest.
NNU is asking supporters to call Mayor Emanuel’s office at 312-744-5000 and demand they immediately drop all charges against the nurses and other protesters, and stop the harassment and arrests of the nurses and others peacefully exercising their free speech rights. Nurses will also picket the mayor’s office at 10 a.m. Monday morning, at City Hall at the LaSalle entrance.
Nurse leaders of National Nurses United who set up a nurses’ station to provide basic first aid to Chicago protesters – as NNU has done peacefully in five other cities across the U.S. – were among the some 130 people arrested by Chicago police. The police also tore down the first aid station, and arrested scores of others who had peacefully assembled to support the station.
“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. “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.”
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.
“Instead of showing off for world leaders, and paying allegiance to protecting the economic interests of the top 1 percent, Mayor Emanuel should stop, and start representing the 99 percent, the people for whom the occupy movement has become a clear voice,” DeMoro said.
NNU also has first aid stations now established at occupy protests in New York’s Zuccotti Park, site of the first Occupy Wall Street protests, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, and Detroit, and will be opening up others in coming days.