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Police arrest artists and activists at MTV protest

On Saturday night, Chicago police arrested at least eight civilians who had gathered to voice their opposition to the presence of MTV's "Real World" show in Chicago's Wicker Park community. Protesters are gathering at the 14th District police station at 2150 N. California in a show of jail solidarity as they await word of the arrestees' status.
On Saturday night, July 22, Chicago police arrested at least eight civilians who had gathered at around 11PM to voice their opposition to the presence of MTV's "Real World" show in Chicago's Wicker Park community. Protesters are gathering at the 14th District police station at 2150 N. California in a show of jail solidarity as they await word of the arrestees' status.

The first arrest occurred around 11:15 p.m. Saturday at North Avenue and Winchester, when a CPD sergeant identified as Crawford drove up in an unmarked police car to question Nato Thompson, who was writing on the sidewalk with chalk. Crawford called for backup after threatening Thompson with arrest, and at least half a dozen squad cars appeared on the scene in short order. Witnesses on the scene report that they were told by police that they could be arrested for questioning why Thompson was arrested. About ten minutes after Thompson's arrest, witnesses report police started collaring people in the growing crowd of protesters and onlookers.

One witness reported that police seemed determined to arrest anyone who voiced any negative opinion about the show. One arrestee was reportedly collared for uttering the statement "This is what the real world looks like." Another woman was arrested for trying to get the names of arrestees from other people on the street.

Last weekend, hundreds gathered at North Ave. and Damen as part of a 'prank protest' staged by artists and activists that oppose the filming of MTV's "Real World" show in their neighborhood. The action was organized by groups that included the "Department of Space and Land Reclamation," a local direct action group. Protesters convened the action to jeer both the show's commodification of counter-culture and the fact that, while "Real World" producers chose the neighborhood for its trendiness, the very individuals who gave it cache -- artists and low-rent hipsters -- are rapidly being gentrified out of the community.
 
 

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