Chicago police arrest 21 protesters for trespassing

CHICAGO Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:27am EDT

Members of a coalition called ''Stand up Chicago'' march during a protest down Michigan Ave in Chicago October 10, 2011.  REUTERS/Frank Polich

Members of a coalition called ''Stand up Chicago'' march during a protest down Michigan Ave in Chicago October 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Frank Polich

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago police arrested 21 people protesting against economic inequality on Tuesday at two rallies, charging them with trespassing, a Chicago Police spokesman said.

The arrests came a day after thousands of people including teachers, religious leaders and union workers marched in downtown Chicago to voice mounting anger over joblessness and economic woes in protests that snarled rush-hour traffic.

Those marches, organized by the "Stand Up Chicago" coalition, had appeared to target financial events in the city including a conference of the Mortgage Bankers Association, which was also subject to protesters' ire on Tuesday.

Organizers said Monday's march was inspired by, but not formally affiliated with, the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month and sparked smaller protests nationwide.

On Tuesday, sixteen people were arrested at a protest at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago where the annual conference of the Mortgage Bankers Association was underway, the Chicago Police spokesman said.

The 16 people arrested at the conference were facing charges of misdemeanor trespassing, he said.

Separately, five women aged 55 to 80 from the Action Now group were also arrested after they took garbage from a foreclosed home owned by Bank of America and dumped it in one of the bank's branches, the group's website said.

Police said that group was also facing charges of misdemeanor trespassing.

Action Now, which calls itself an organization of working families fighting for change, said Bank of America had not properly shuttered the foreclosed home from which the group took the furniture and garbage.

"Since Bank of America will not go to our neighborhoods and clean up their vacant properties, Action Now members brought the neighborhood to them," the group said on its website.

Bank of America did not immediately respond to an after-hours request for comment.

Chicago has also seen several weeks of daily protests outside the Federal Reserve Bank by "Occupy Chicago," an echo of the larger Wall Street protests.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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