By BEN BRADLEY
October 11, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — In Chicago, two financial meetings drew demonstrations Monday that will continue Tuesday.
The Mortgage Bankers Association will be holding a conference at the Hyatt Regency Tuesday, and that means the area could be a target for the protesters who believe that banks are trying to squeeze out the middle class.
An estimated 3,000 protesters clogged downtown traffic during the Monday evening rush hour. People marched from five different locations around the city and converged on the Art Institute on Michigan Avenue, where a reception for financial traders was taking place. Protesters are demanding action involving more jobs, poverty, home foreclosures and schools.
“The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” said one protester.
“My son has two masters and can’t find a job,” said another protester.
“It is time to start building from the bottom up. The middle class is being squeezed to death,” said one protester.
The protesters are directing their message at the Futures Industry Association and Mortgage Bankers Association. The two groups are holding their conferences in Chicago this week.
At the Art Institute, police cited two dozen people for staging a sit-in in front of the institute. Later in the evening, a smaller group of protesters staged a rally at Congress and Michigan.
Besides citations, there was one arrest, 25-year-old Christopher Friday, of Alabama, was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer. He allegedly punched an officer. He is scheduled to be in bond court Tuesday.
The group Take Back Chicago continues to hammer home their message, saying they feel they are being pushed aside by the banks and mortgage companies.