Occupy NATO Protesters Arrested On Terrorism Charges
Early Saturday morning Occupy Chicago began tweeting that three protesters have been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism, and possession of an explosive or incendiary device. The Examiner is reporting that the arrests happened after a raid on an apartment in a Bridgeport neighborhood:
According to National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorneys working for three men in police custody they have been charged with three serious charges each. All have been held since a raid on an apartment in the 1000 block of West 32nd in the Bridgeport neighborhood late Wednesday night.
Apparently, the arrestees are accused of making or having supplies to manufacture Molotov cocktails to be used during protests. Bottles, phones, and computers were seized by police in their raid. William Vassilakis, who lives in the raided apartment said that he is a home brew beer hobbyist and that all the police confiscated was his beer making supplies.
Eight were arrested in the initial raid and now three are facing serious felony charges.
Sarah Gelsomino, a National Lawyer’s Guild attorney, spoke to a few supporters early Saturday morning telling them that the charges were "trumped up." From the Chicago Tribune:
Gelsomino, speaking to about 15 supporters who remained outside the police station at 2 a.m. Saturday, said the charges were filed “clearly in an attempt to continue this intimidation campaign on activists. Charging these people who are here to peacefully protest against NATO for terrorism, when in reality the police have been terrorizing activists in Chicago, is absolutely outrageous.”
You can watch Gelsomino discuss the charges below.
The three men charged, Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, and Brent Betterly are scheduled to appear in bond court at 26th Street and California Saturday afternoon. Occupy Chicago is calling for protesters to "flood the courtrooms" in "solidarity" with their fellow protesters, who are not from the Chicago area but from "out of town."
Occupy Chicago is claiming that the charges are in retaliation for the activists releasing a video showing Chicago police taunting them last week. The video, which you can watch below, shows police telling the protesters that they are on private property and searching their car. The police make several jokes and say "we'll be looking for you" after the activists admit they are in town for the NATO protests. Gelsomino confirmed that the activists being charged are the same people involved in the traffic stop in the video.
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