Hundreds of Occupy protesters shut down Boeing’s Chicago headquarters and marched the downtown streets to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters Monday.
Occupy’s reasoning for shutting down Boeing was to protest the company’s “immoral” involvement in making airplanes, “killer” drones and other military equipment that’s used in wars and attacks overseas.
Employees at Boeing did not go into work Monday and police barricaded the front of the building from the protestors.
In addition to the products the company makes, Occupy members voiced their concerns about tax subsidies the corporation received from the state and federal government. They also shamed the company for laying off thousands of workers.
“Despite making a profit of $9.7 billion between 2008 and 2010, Boeing laid off 14,862 workers, and it increased executive pay 31 percent,” said an Occupier through a megaphone.
In 2001, Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago from Seattle, and gained a 20-year exemption from property taxes, said the occupier standing in the middle of the dense crowd.
“That deal cost Illinois tax payers $60 million dollars,” he said, which resulted in “boos” from the group.
One protestor took the megaphone and said Boeing’s aircrafts aren’t only “immoral” because they’re involved in wars but also because they “guzzle” fossil fuels, which pollute the environment.
“They perpetuate and industry that has to die,” the activist said.
The protest was peaceful-- protestors even released balloons into the air, blew bubbles and sprayed confetti outside of the headquarters, located at 100 N. Riverside Plaza.
Zephyr Lloyd and her two friends with Occupy were on the scene before the other protesters.
“We’re here today just to reinforce the right that we have freedom of speech whenever and however long we want,” Lloyd said.
When asked how shutting down Boeing relates to the other NATO protests in the city this weekend, Lloyd said “it’s all connected.”
Another protestor said it’s not only Boeing that’s hurting the 99 percent.
“This is systematic,” said protestor Sarah Wild, who lives in the Pilsen neighborhood.
“When you speak about something, you need to manifest it. This building is a manifestation of complex historical, economical and military policies.”
Wild said there’s still a “long, long fight” ahead.
“Were not naïve enough to think we can come here and shut Boeing down,” she said. “This is symbolic, concrete action, and you’re here today, so we’re doing something right.”
Here's more from today's protest:
After about an hour outside Boeing, protesters were off to Obama’s headquarters, located at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
One man marching with the Occupiers said he’s marching for public healthcare in the state.
Vietnam veteran Ron McSheffery said he’s upset by the recent closings of mental health facilities in the city and the looming Medicaid cuts.
Medicaid cuts impact McSherffery, because he has a disabled 9-year-old son who relies on the state funding.
“Stop killing people, and start taking care of people,” he said.
One bystander observing the Boeing protest wasn’t too pleased with the day’s events.
“I’m hoping this is over, so we can have our city back,” said Chicago resident John Gaston.
Here are more of the sights seen at today's rally (SLIDESHOW):