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article imageOp-Ed: Veterans throw away medals in Chicago anti-NATO protest

By Anne Sewell     May 20, 2012 in World
Chicago - Watching the Chicago anti-NATO protest live was a very moving experience. Part of the protest included veterans throwing their medals away, including Scott Olsen.
The video above is a clip from the protest, taken on livestream by Tim Pool of timcast, who was also the journalist whose video footage cleared Alexander Arbuckle in his recent trial. Arbuckle had been accused of disorderly conduct in the Occupy Wall Street protest early on New Years' Day.
There are varying reports of the number of people involved in the full NATO protest, with numbers from 10,000 to 50,000 to 75,000 being quoted on Facebook in the overall protest. No way at present to know the true number but I doubt the numbers were quite that large.
In the video you can see a section of the protest where veterans first introduce themselves to the crowd, then throw their medals away, many apologizing to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan for what they have done. They denounce the "war on terror" as a false flag war.
Scott Olsen, the veteran who was hit in the head with a tear gas canister and badly injured in Oakland, was among the veterans. It was good to hear him able to speak normally again.
A girl of Afghan nationality, whose parents were forced to leave their home country and now live in Canada, gave a very moving speech about the villagers, women and children murdered in Afghanistan.
The protesters were located on Cermak close to Michigan.
Unfortunately shortly after this moving event, hundreds of riot-gear clad police moved in with the 2 LRADs (long range acoustic devices) and threatened the people to disperse to the west.
Apparently CNN are saying that a protester caused the police to move in, but having watched the whole thing live, I can say that this definitely does not appear to be the case. The protesters may have made a bit of noise, but otherwise all was peaceful.
At one stage journalists were donning cycle helmets to protect themselves from possible police violence.
Some arrests were made of people who refused to disperse, but unfortunately Tim had to move away from the main crowd at that stage. He then reported that cell phones are going down, so communications were getting spotty.
Reports were heard that the riot police were preparing their gas masks, and many cries for "medic!" were heard in the crowd, with at least three people with their heads covered in blood, including at least one journalist.
Fox news reported that the "march was no longer peaceful". Of course, the protesters had still done nothing and it was the police who were not "peaceful".
The police kettled the protesters in with barricades, with constant loud announcements in English and Spanish telling people to move to the west. Officers from the SWAT team were spotted by the reporter.
The last I saw at 1.30 am Spanish time, 6.30 pm Chicago time, protesters were being moved along. Hopefully I will have more news tomorrow morning and more protests are planned for tomorrow.
To follow the live cast click here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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