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article imagePeaceful anti-NATO protests increasing in Chicago prior to Summit

By Anne Sewell     May 19, 2012 in World
Chicago - Prior to the NATO Summit on Sunday, Chicago, IL is experiencing peaceful mass protests, which will continue throughout the weekend, despite the extra security.
Digital Journal recently reported that Chicago is ready for the NATO Summit with security in place against possible terrorist attacks by peacefully protesting activists.
However, with the Summit set to start on Sunday, the streets have not been quiet. Yesterday it was the turn of nurses, with National Nurses United teaming up with trade unions in a mass rally in the city, protesting against proposals to cut back nurses' pensions.
“We've worked 30 years for them and don't want to get rid of them,” said Deb Holmes, a nurse at a hospital in Worcester said to RT in the video above.
But it's not only the nurses who are out there. Anti-NATO protesters are peacefully thronging the streets along with Occupy movement members.
During the protest yesterday, hundreds of protesters split from the main rally and ran through the city shouting anti-NATO slogans. Many of these activists were arrested.
In a lead up to the main event on Sunday, when the NATO summit begins, thousands of protesters continue to arrive in the city, which has been put into a security overkill mode. Millions of dollars have been spent on new police equipment to secure the summit.
Sam Molik, a protester from Occupy Tulsa told RT, “We've got a bunch of peaceful protesters here, and they [police] spent millions and millions of dollars on this week alone. It's absolutely absurd.”
Protesters say that these millions of dollars spent on the summit should be used on real needs in the country.
A protester tells RT, “NATO is a US-commanded military alliance responsible for wars and war crimes on a global basis.”
Occupy Chicago committee member, Micah Philbrook states, “NATO as an organization no longer has a mandate. Occupy Chicago denies and demands NATO disband. They have no more purpose. They are spending our taxpayer dollars on wars and to bomb and destroy and murder civilians all over the world.”
Political analyst and writer, Rick Rozoff tells RT, “There is a pro-peace majority in the United States. We oppose war. We oppose the world's pre-eminent war-making organization NATO. And we have a human agenda and a humane agenda that has no place for war.”
"We're talking about a peaceful protest, run by peaceful people dedicated to peace, against a military bloc, the mightiest in human history and they are being portrayed as the force that needs to be protected." Rozoff continues.
Previously RT had reported that homes of known activists were raided on Wednesday.
According to the National Lawyers' Guild, law enforcement officers broke down the door of a 6-unit apartment building in Chicago at 11:30 pm on Wednesday. Once they had entered the building, they then accessed the apartment of known activists with guns drawn. The tenants were then handcuffed and questioned for 2 hours by officers of the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicago Tribune reported that they have received police reports detailing the incident. The newspaper confirms that 9 people were arrested in the raid and have been accused of possessing Molotov cocktail explosives. None of the suspects have been charged as yet.
Attorneys for the suspects say that their clients are innocent, as what the police saw and confiscated from the apartment was merely equipment used to brew home-made beer.
The same men were also harassed by police a week ago when their car was stopped. An attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, Sarah Gelsomino called the charges “an attempt to continue this intimidation campaign on activists. Charging these people who are here to peacefully protest against NATO for terrorism, when in reality the police have been terrorizing activists in Chicago, is absolutely outrageous.”
In an ironic twist, John Cody of WBBM Newsradio reports that professor Ian Hurd, a political scientist with Northwestern University, states that the only way Chicago can raise its international profile is with big demonstrations, because otherwise "there's no news other than "a successful meeting was held".
“I think the organizers are somewhat aware that they could have chosen to hold the meeting somewhere extremely remote, and hard for protesters to reach,” Hurd said.
He further explained that this is why Canada held the 2002 G8 Summit in Kananaskis, in Alberta province, a Rocky Mountains resort area.
“So by putting it in downtown Chicago, the organizers are, to some degree, inviting the protesters as well,” Hurd said.
He said that together NATO, world leaders and protesters will create a "monumental media event."
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