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NATO Protests: A Round-Up of an Eventful Weekend

NATO Protests: A Round-Up of an Eventful Weekend

NATO wraps up its summit in Chicago today, but foreign diplomats weren’t the only ones visiting the city for the event this past weekend. NATO’s presence also brought out thousands of protesters wishing to express their disgust with NATO’s pro-war policies.

Initially, the G8 had also been scheduled this weekend in Chicago to coincide with NATO, but it was moved to Camp David, likely in part to help diffuse the inevitable displays of dissent. Nonetheless, demonstrators turned out by the thousands (no two reports’ estimates seem to align, so I won’t even attempt to give a precise figure), but their massive displays have gone largely unnoticed due to a glaring lack of mainstream media coverage.

Here are some of the stories that emerged from Chicago this weekend:

  • Before the protests even took place, police raided a house and arrested nine activists without a warrant. The National Lawyer’s Guild condemned the police’s actions. Ultimately, three of the arrestees were held on charges of planning to use explosives at protests. The defense alleges that undercover agents coerced the suspects into this scheme.
  • On Friday morning, the first big event was a nurses’ rally. Although the permit for the march following the rally was revoked, thousands took to the streets and marched anyway. Police followed demonstrators closely, but largely did not intervene on the protesters at this point.
  • That night, police appeared to target citizen journalists. In one case, police pulled over a car holding a few prominent livestreamers, handcuffed them and collected their information before letting them go.
  • In retaliation, hacktivist group Anonymous took down the Chicago Police Department’s website.
  • By the following day, riot cops were out in full force, as were protesters.
  • The heavy presence on both sides led to skirmishes. Reports indicate that at least police officers required medical attention, though it is unclear how many protesters needed the same. Video footage shows police attacking protesters with batons on several occasions throughout the weekend.
  • Additionally, batons weren’t the police’s only weapons of choice. The Uptake has footage of officers striking protesters with their bicycles as well.
  • For visuals of the entire weekend, The Chicago Tribune has a large photo gallery.
  • Despite the physical conflicts, Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said today, “These are peaceful protesters. That’s what we expected.” However, the National Lawyers Guild strongly condemned the police’s actions. “Police completely overreacted to protesters approaching the security perimeter and unleashed a violent attack on them without an ability to disperse,” said lawyer Sarah Gelsomino in a statement.
  • Believe it or not, even a Fox News segment calls out the police for potentially entrapping activists on charges that won’t ultimately stick, as well as purposely intimidating people from expressing their First Amendment rights.
  • While police did not permit protesters to come too close where NATO officials met, at least some anti-war vibes were flowing there, too. At the summit, President Obama proposed a two-year timetable to stop the war in Afghanistan.

 

Related Stories:

Nurses Push for Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street

Criticism of NATO

Police Arrest Nurse Volunteers at Occupy Chicago

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Photo Credit: Isadora Ruyter-Harcourt

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6 comments

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9:13PM PDT on May 22, 2012

If there are any NATO protestors, who live in Massachusetts, should write letters and mail them to thier state represenatives and state senators to tell them to legalize prostitution in that state.

4:20PM PDT on May 22, 2012

Europe tried to dissolve NATO during that summit in Italy but the old Bush almost broke into tears and begged them to keep this useless alliance going. Why exactly? The original European members don't even like that alliance and the new ones the US added really don't impress anybody.

10:44AM PDT on May 22, 2012

It would help if the President called for police restraint. In Citizen's United, unlimited corporate bribes is free speech, but protesters have no right to free speech?

5:48AM PDT on May 22, 2012

I think the Chicago Police department did a very good job this weekend. They kept there cool and protected all people involved with the protest and those standing on the sidelines or were unknowingly caught up in these demonstrations. If the professional protesters had stayed home there would have been serious demonstrations that people would have paid attention to. When these professional protesters started attacking the Chicago Police departmant everything the concerned prostester was trying to convey went down the drain.

That you Chicago Police departmant and Superintendent Garry McCarthy for a job well done.

6:49PM PDT on May 21, 2012

My fav in this piece is when the activists took down the cops web site. Overall I am appalled at the action of the cops and I think that across the board and country the forces and gearing up for bigger and bigger outburst from the 99. Will we all end up in internment camps? Every day I see the Police State creep closer into our lives. Big Brother exists and we are but ants to be stepped on.

5:36PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Good for Obama--shame on the police

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