Credit: Stephanie Puente, Centro Comunitario Juan Diego
Chicago Police this afternoon arrested two people protesting the city's plan to charge for street parking outside a community center on the South Side.
Residents have been protesting at the Centro Communitario Juan Diego in the South Chicago neighborhood for almost seven weeks. They recently began holding overnight vigils.
The protesters have prevented the city from installing pay boxes directly in front of the center. But down the street, workers had drilled holes in the sidewalk to hold a box.
The two people who were arrested saw the installers coming and “decided to go cover the holes,” says protester Robert Garcia.
A Chicago Police spokesman confirmed two people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges, but could provide no further details.
Residents fear that those who park in front of the center will be instructed to use a payment box down the street.
They say the city's plan to meter parking would harm many of the center's low-income clients.
A petition to block the metters received about 1500 signatures, and community leaders presented it to John Pope, the 10th ward alderman. Pope told protesters he would think about it. After a week, Marta Perea, a coordinator for the protests, says the alderman decided to go ahead with the meters.