Activists of the Occupy Chicago movement say the police have installed “ominous-looking equipment” near their headquarters and may be intercepting their phone communications.
“I don’t really know what authority Chicago Police Department has to listen in to random people’s cell phone calls, especially since Occupy Chicago has been particularly non-violent. It has been in place for three days, and witnesses reported that the policeman installing the gear looked way too happy to be installing this equipment,” a protest tipster said, as cited by the Gawker website.
The report also says the activists have been spotting unmarked surveillance vans parking directly beneath the equipment. Meanwhile some activists said their mobile phones have shown poor performance ever since the equipment was installed.
Some comments say the device mounted on top of the street lamp shown in the picture is a base station of a wireless network. It may potentially be used to identify individual mobile phones in the area.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has been running since mid-September in the US. The protests demanding social justice have since spread to a dozen American cities as well as some foreign nations. The demonstrators want the US government to tax the rich, curb the power of the corporations and hold those responsible for the ongoing economic crisis accountable.
In several cities the confrontation between the OWS and local authorities resulted in violent crackdowns on the protesters. US Marine veteran Scott Olson was seriously wounded when a tear gas canister hit him in the head at an Oakland rally. The incident became the symbol of police brutality targeting the Occupy movement.