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Facing Global Protest, G8 Retreats

Posted 2 years ago on March 6, 2012, 4:48 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

occupy chicago in action last year

The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world's eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are "stunned" by the news.

Occupiers and allies celebrated the decision with a victory party last night. The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issued the following statement:

The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1% are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.

The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US. “We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.”

While officials claim the decision to move the G8 was not related to fear of protesters, Chicago police have admitted to expecting tens of thousands to show up in Chicago this May, and have been stocking up on "less lethal" weapons to use against protesters. Following Occupy Chicago’s Call of Action and Adbuster’s call for 50,000 people to come to Chicago, the City Council granted Chicago Mayor Emanuel extraordinary powers to make security decisions and suppress free speech during the NATO and G8 summits. The city also tried to spread fear by warning downtown businesses to ramp up their security in anticipation of conflicts between riot police and protesters.

Chicago will still host NATO allies and partners on May 20 and 21 to discuss the war in Afghanistan and other top