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Thousands march to oppose police repression in run-up to NATO summit

Posted 2 years ago on May 19, 2012, 10:48 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

The following post is borrowed from Chicago Indymedia

Chicago saw thousands of people in the streets Saturday in the run-up to the beginning of the NATO summit. with the afternoon's boisterous but peaceful protest marches marred by sweeping police violence.

Protests began in the morning, when people gathered at the Irving Park Brown Line public transit stop to don hospital gowns and canvas the local neighborhood, then assembled at noon for the “Healthcare not Warfare!” action. That protest marched on the house of mayor Rahm Emanuel to protest his closure of half of the city’s public mental health clinics in a ‘cost-saving’ measure protesters say is both unnecessary and part of the city’s push to privatize public services.

At the same time, supporters of three men arrested in a Wednesday night raid at the Bridgeport apartment of Occupy Chicago activists were gathering at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California for the arrestees’ noon bail hearing. Each was slapped with a bond of $1.5 million; Cook County States’ Attorney Anita Alvarez had originally asked for $5 million bonds for each, and trotted out a litany of charges deployed in the first-ever use of the state’s anti-terrorism statutes, claiming the Florida residents, Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, were making Molotov cocktails and planned to hit targets that included Obama campaign headquarters and Emanuel’s house. All three men had earlier in the week released a video that documented their targeted harassment by Chicago police, a tape which is said to have enraged local cops.

Protesters and attorneys have called the charges ludicrous, pointing out that the ‘bomb-making devices’ police and Alvarez referred to in their post-hearing press conference were actually a home beer brewing operation.

“It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest,” said NLG attorney Sarah Gelsomino of the People’s Law Office.

Protesters called on the spot for an emergency protest to begin at 3:30 PM at LaSalle and Jackson, in the heart of the city’s financial district. LaSalle and Jackson has also been the home corner for a months-long Occupy Chicago presence and the staging of several large marches seeking to create an encampment at Congress and Michigan that has been repeatedly thwarted by police and produced hundreds of arrests last year.

The 3:30PM emergency protest eventually linked up with a planned evening anti-capitalist march that staged out of the Haymarket memorial and subsequently swelled to thousands, turning into a rolling wave of opposition to the Chicago police department’s sustained effort to thwart anti-NATO protests.

The protesters’ goal this week? To ratchet up attention on NATO, the military arm of the 1% -- a cold war relic with a clearly overtly aggressive military mission. NATO missions have killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, bombed Libya back into the stone age and allowed its rich oil resources to be steered toward more direct control of western oil companies, and turned a blind eye to the repressive regimes of allies in Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries. Member states of NATO, let by the U.S., supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, leaving that nation in ruins -- and its petroleum resources in the hands of western elites and their allies.

City and federal officials and police have worked mightily since the NATO summit was announced last year in tandem with the G8 gathering -- subsequently moved to Camp David by the Obama administration -- to spin their commitment to the right to peacefully protest, to imply that at least some protesters were dangerous radicals and even terrorists, and to position NATO as a benevolent force for good.

The city formally pulled the mask off that charade today, when the police unleashed a wave of violence against sometimes rowdy but peaceful protesters as they staged the convergence of the 3:30 and 6:30 marches. Neither action was permitted, in keeping with Occupy Chicago’s standing opposition to the city’s ‘Sit Down & Shut Up” protest ordinances, which were tightened earlier this year to make it virtually impossible to stage permitted actions without at least a million dollars in insurance, massive ‘marshall’ presence, and a commitment to register all signs and banners with the authorities -- draconian restrictions on free speech and civil liberties that the Occupy movement and its allies have refused to embrace.

The police used batons, bikes and their fists to beat people and push protesters back repeatedly today, with medics reporting numerous injuries. Several arrests were also reported. One police officer narrowly missed a protester with his baton, inadvertently shattering the billy club against a police bike.

By about 9:20 PM, the march had circled back to LaSalle and Jackson, and after the crowd moved off again, a Chicago police van apparently ran over one protester with both sets of the vehicle’s wheels. Streamer Lorenzo Serna passed along information that at least one witness to that injury reports that the driver of the police van gunned the engine before striking and injuring the protester.

“I was at that march later,” wrote one protester on the comments thread of a video of the police violence. “Noisy and somewhat disruptive to the sparse traffic yes, but peaceful. Democracy is always noisy and disruptive. People that whine about these kinds of protests simply hate democracy.”

“I'll respect the law, when it respects the people,” another protester wrote of the police.

Thousands of people watched the day’s actions via livestream via Chicago Indymedia’s livestream channel, and streams by Global Revolution, uneditedcamera, and others.

One streamer reported seeing two protesters viciously clubbed by police. “People are very angry at the police,” he said.

That anger stems in part from months of demonization of protesters and relentless repression by the authorities of the right to peaceably assemble and utilize public spaces. While much of that repression has been targeted against Occupy protesters, mainstream peace groups have struggled for months to win permits from the city to protest the NATO summit within sight and sound of the gathering -- a goal they have still been denied.

Many protesters from out of town said they’d been involved in Occupy efforts in other cities -- the movement nationally has seen a wave of targeted -- and apparently nationally coordinated -- repression by local authorities, despite the movement’s abiding commitment to non-violent protest.

Meanwhile, protesters are gearing up for the first full day of the NATO summit, which will include a rally and march being convened by military veterans being organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War and CANG8 -- the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda. That action will stage out of Grant Park at Columbus and Jackson for a planned march on the NATO summit site at McCormack Place.

Protesters at the CANG8 action will hold a 10AM press availability at their press tent at Columbus and Jackson on Sunday to decry the police violence and the criminalization of dissent.

Imgur
Police van striking a protester

49 Comments

49 Comments


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[-] 5 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Assault with a deadly weapon - I think is the legal term.

When you run into someone on purpose with a van.

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[-] -3 points by gamm789 (-10) 2 years ago

Why are you posting here right now when OWS protesters who badly need support are less than 500 miles away from where you claim to be?

Go straight to Chicago right now, DKAtoday, or go straight to HELL.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Go straight to Chicago right now, gamm789 or go straight to HELL.

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[-] 0 points by danzer (-51) 2 years ago

If you're living in a place called "Coon Rapids" you're already in hell.

[-] 3 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 2 years ago

What they are doing in Chicago is flat out fascism. The Occupiers and their allies are brave and deserve support. As for the three charged with "terrorism" I can understand why some people would want to do what they are charged with. I believe that this is a frame up. God Bless the National Lawyers Guild for b eing there and defending what's right.

[-] 3 points by Revolutionary (274) 2 years ago

Shame to 1% and shame to police the fools.

[-] 3 points by Bighead1883 (285) 2 years ago

The violence and terrorism that the police are doing is showing all that their masters are the corporations and complicit governments.Without these dictators directing the spineless police these protests would remain peaceful.The trumped up charges are a disgrace as home brewing is not an illegal activity.We can all see the WRONG.

[-] 1 points by MsStacy (1035) 2 years ago

You're ignoring what a whole other segment of the population believes. You can toss it off to the way the media has covered Occupy, but you're foolish to ignore what it means and only consider your side of things. There is a very large portion of the population that doesn't see the police as being wrong.

[-] 3 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 2 years ago

What you said is so very true. A large portion of the population is still complacent in their own little mediawashed worlds. The levels of authoritarian oppression will probably need to get to the point of privately owned labor camps before even half of America begins to see what's going on. oh wait...

[-] 1 points by Human (23) 2 years ago

Just as there is a large segment of the population who see the cops as terrorizing them in their own country. I don't think attacking protestors is in any way protective or honorable. The cops in Frankfurt, Germany stood with their fellow citizens. I respect those police officers.

[-] 1 points by MsStacy (1035) 2 years ago

Frankfurt is a long way off and the sentiment felt by it's police isn't likely to spread here. It would be nice if all public servants felt closer to the people they serve. The reality of things is they simply don't. Many police officers actually believe Occupy is wrong.

The portion of the population that sees the police in a negative light is in the minority. Unless you get a change in the public attitude, like what occurred during the civil rights movement or the anti-war movement, you're going to loose every encounter with the police. Not just a loss at a particular protest, but the more general PR loss that will keep OWS a fringe movement.

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

For the record, the police are protecting the public from unruly, out of control mobs; including a sub-set of terrorists. You can call the real 99% of Americans, who don’t want or like these crimes, bad names all you want. But it doesn’t excuse the criminal activity. Think about it, are you going to cheer the anarchists who kill innocent people like Timothy McVeigh. Will you finally do a reality check when that happens?

Also, there are some bright and earnest people in OWS, but the movement has been hijacked by every crazy with a pissed off attitude at the world. Their objective is a mix of a street party and getting payback for the wrongs in their life. Basically haters and partiers.

I am dismayed. OWS could have been a great thing, but now just a staging point for terrorists.

[-] 2 points by Bighead1883 (285) 2 years ago

The only terrorism going on is being done by the State.The ridiculous NDAA law proposal has even thankfully had a stay put on it.Both MsStacy and jbgramps are brainwashed.Watch this,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5FaKc7Z_uM&amp

[-] 1 points by Human (23) 2 years ago

More like plants. Really...all this old school talk went out with Wavy Gravy. You might want to get someone from the current generation to do the heavy lifting, gramps and Ms. Stacy, LOL.

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

So you’re saying the FBI shouldn’t have arrested the bridge blowing guys in Ohio or the firebomb guys in Chicago? Would you rather have let them blow something up and possibly injure or kill people? That’s not what OWS is about.

I keep seeing posts saying OWS is non-violent; then I see posts wanting to excuse people wanting to do harm. Where do you draw the line on terrorism. At what level is terrorism acceptable?

If I am brainwashed as you say then I’m in good company, because the real 99% agree with me that terrorism is not the way. Keep it peaceful and quit intentionally provoking the cops. They’re just trying to protect the public.

Remember OWS is supposed to be non-violent.

[-] 1 points by georgeorwell84 (15) from Montgomery, NJ 2 years ago

Nice to see that someone is keeping a level head. The protesters assaulted the police officers first. If you watched the live uneditted feeds, you saw the protesters taunting the police , swearing and constantly pushing the police. How can you say this is a non-violent movement when your own live video shows OWS protesters assaulting police and journalists ( when the OWS person jumped in front of the van). The protesters blocked EMT's from assisting and interfered with the ambulance. Not to mention that the camera man kept asking for water and no one gave him any (plenty of people nearby had bottles). The protesters were trying to incite a riot, but the police did not allow it.

[-] 1 points by Bighead1883 (285) 2 years ago

Dont try and put your words down as mine.I said ,home brewing is not illegal.Those three are home brewers.The terrorists are the cops directed by the State.The only provoking happening is by the police.OWS IS non violent,I believe you are agent provocateur.

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

Sorry, no such luck. No agent provocateur here. Just a guy who’s not pre-disposed to think the cops are the bad guys. They protect the public, even you, The cops trying to prevent the terrorists from blowing stuff up and destroy property makes them the good guys.

I guess whether the guys were making home brew or planning a terrorist act will come out during trial. Until then I’ll continue to see the cops as doing a pretty good job. And frankly, whether you like it or not the vast majority agree with me.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6885) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

So, it's your belief that the FBI would never resort to such tactics?

[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

I wouldn’t say never, but I would say seldom and unlikely the FBI would entrap people. I guess my main message is law enforcement are the good guys. I’m dismayed when I hear people paint them as Nazi Storm Troopers. They are just trying to protect the public. I’m truly puzzled that supposedly peaceful OWS’ers buy into “cops are bad guys” rhetoric.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6885) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

The more level-headed of us believe the truth about law enforcement. That, by and large, they are the good guys. And that society would be a bloodbath without them. But also that there are bad eggs in a fair percentage of local jurisdictions, some entire departments are, or have been in the past, completely corrupt (consider the history of both Chicago and NYC departments), and that major departments like the FBI and CIA are not above doing whatever they think necessary to achieve their goals, legal or otherwise. Any true historian would have to agree with this statement, I think.

And you absolutely have to take into consideration the fairly recent, and kind of under the radar for the average citizen, militarization of our police departments. It not like it used to be, jb. Cops are not nearly as friendly as they used to be.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

The police and other enforcement agencies were set-up for valid reasons with real duties to perform.

They are also institutions power bases. They are just as open to greed and corrupt manipulation as any other institution.

The secret service feels so dedicated to the job right now that they hire hookers while on assignment.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

I'm so tired if anarchy being equate with violence

when the government uses violence to control people

how did they manage so many words on it ?

[-] 2 points by PR1 (120) 2 years ago

Nix the word "comrad" please and use the word "friend."

[-] 2 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

This is showing the world that despite our claim of being a free people, we are indeed living in a police state.

[-] 1 points by Bighead1883 (285) 2 years ago

Here`s a prediction Odin.The Kleptocrats will engineer a military coup de tat in Greece to keep the Austerity against the poor going.

[-] 1 points by i8jomomma (80) 2 years ago

i forgot where it was but who ever came up with the idea of dressing in black and running into the crowd of people in order to hide from the pigs.................keep up the good work.............fuck with the pigs and when they chase you...........blend in with the crowd and hide from them........keep doing it to dive them crazy and try not to get caught........we need people like you and the people from anonymous out here on the streets so you can fuck with the pigs......fuck with them and run that is better than standing their putting up a fight so they can arrest ya........fuck with them and run......stick and move...stick and move

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

in san diego

in san diego another police encounter

shortly after posting the 2006 gay pride parade

I was pulled over for driving too slowly, The cops informed of a warrant but could tell me for what. They impounded my car.

after paying $500 to get the car back from the impound lot (which I've yet to be refunded), I discovered a gallon of bletch had been pour all over the papers in my glove compartment in the passenger seat well.

http://voltic.com/0/i/impound/Officer4arms.jpg

it was night there was along exposure time

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

It also appears that the Chicago police were taping out their badge numbers.

If they were doing an honest job? why would they do that?

http://www.theuptake.org/2012/05/21/chicago-cop-covers-up-badge-during-nato-protests/

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[-] 0 points by 1Southsider (-1) from Chicago, IL 2 years ago

After witnessing (first hand) the antagonistic words & actions of so-called "peaceful" fellow demonstrators today, I am completely disheartened. The original OWS agenda has become muddled by rotten apples. Personally, I felt police actions were quite conservative considering the obviously coordinated attack on them by certain protesters after the vets threw their medals onto Cermak Rd. What was the point of those protesters lunging at the cops? I've got two words for you... publicity stunt. I was thoroughly disgusted & didn't stick around after that. I've lived my whole life in Chicago and have nothing but respect for our civil servants. The job they do is a difficult one that deserves respect. And I don't have any sympathy for folks who use organizations such as OWS or events such as NATO as an outlet/vehicle for their hatred. One thing anyone who lives here knows is that "if you get your raucous on, you're gonna get put down." We've got enough troublemakers here, we don't need anymore. So if you're gonna come into my town with plans of acting like a fool and getting away with it... you've got another thing coming.

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[-] 0 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I am for the right to free speech and protest.

I am against laws that would silence anyone.

I am against the state oppressing the people or free speech.

There is something going on in this video that was the catalyst for what happened.

The first thing I see in the video is the crowd pushing the police and officers with officers on the ground while the crowd continues to push.

Watch closely from 0:19 to 0:30 and you will see what I am talking about. Take a close look at 0:27.

These cops are instructed by their chain of command to prevent people form approaching the convention center due to the nature of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference and threats that have been made. Whether substantiated or not, they are threats.

Should they just lay down and be trampled? Should they run? Abandon their post?

[-] 4 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

No apparently they should drive into the crowd with their van.

[-] 0 points by JoeTheFarmer (2049) 12 minutes ago

You defend police abuse so wonderfully - worm tongue.

Yes the police should have given ground to legal protest.

They should have had barricades in place around the conference site and should have allowed the protestors to gather there peacefully.

But no the police were in major confrontation mode.

[-] 1 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

So if you think the police should have set up barricades, and let the marchers move all the way too them -then what? What about when the marchers start to climb over the barricades? At that point, can the police begin using force to stop them?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

If the barricades are set just at the perimeter of the NATO meeting site/building. If the people are allowed to gather around that perimeter to legally protest.

I see no reason for the protesters to storm the barricades. The whole idea of the protest was to go to where the meeting was taking place to show their rightful dissent to how NATO is operating.

If the barricades were stormed - I would expect the police to repel the stormers. I would expect them to have detention centers set-up inside of the perimeter.

I do not expect or accept the police trying to stop a legal right of protest.

BTW - weapons are not needed to deter or arrest those who do not carry weapons and who do not threaten violence with weapons. Weapons absent in crowd weapons restrained from use by police. Grab and detain. Block with shields. Hose with water. Do not bludgeon with clubs.

[-] 0 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

Did you see how many protesters were there in relation to how many officers? They were outnumbered by 10 to 1, and that alone is a weapon. You can see quite easily in the video that the crowd was pushing against the police line.

You realize that it is illegal to block city streets right? I hear all the time about peaceful and non-violent protests - but that doesn't make them legal. Legal is people marching on the sidewalks - so don't get mad if the police take action against illegal activity. If you want to protest and block the city streets - then you are now an illegal protest. It doesn't matter how just the cause, it doesn't give you the right to infringe on the rights of others. And, just because you see no reason for people to storm the barricades - doesn't mean it wouldn't happen. Lets be honest, peaceful protests don't make the news. There was hardly any coverage of the BoA protests in Charlotte because there was no chaos. In fact, the protesters had to use pre-planned arrests just to try to get some coverage. Many of the protesters are not happy until they have had a confrontation with the police - so they will continue to push and push until the police have to take action. And then cry police brutality and police state - and all the rest of it. It is just more propaganda. Granted, that isn't every case - but I've seen it a lot in videos from the the various occupy movement.

And hose with water? Really - we tried that in the 60sand 70s...and it has since been frowned upon. And don't bring up the van thing - agreed, it was wrong. Granted, the protesters shouldn't have gotten in front of the van and tried to push it - but rolling the van forward was not the right response.

[-] 1 points by Human (23) 2 years ago

Flip your comment the other way, and one might think that the larger group of protesters were quite concilliatory to the cops they could have put a serious hurt on.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

The state has grown to levels never imagined, and will do whatever it takes to keep it's power.

[-] 1 points by Human (23) 2 years ago

Yes, but smashing the first amendment might revive the second. I find that funny, in a demented sort of way.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I did not see them drive into the crowd in this video.

Were you watching the video on this post? Did I miss something. What was the time signature when they did this?

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[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Well apparently YOU do or you wouldn't bother attacking it and calling attention to it and to your BS. I can't believe you are still here. The forum must like your interactive example of being an enemy of the movements against greed corruption and crime.

See the thing is you attack those who speak out against the corruption.

So I guess - thank you for being the representative of oppression.

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[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22338) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

You are a supporter of the greedy corrupt criminals. You are a blind marcher for corruption.

So - No I won't be leaving.

Why don't you Fuck Off - Shit Head.

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[-] 0 points by Spade2 (478) 2 years ago

So has anyone died?

[-] 2 points by Bighead1883 (285) 2 years ago

Yes,Democracy..

[-] 1 points by Spade2 (478) 2 years ago

Ok that was lame. Until someone actually dies from police brutality, don't expect a lot of sympathy from the average American.

[-] 1 points by Human (23) 2 years ago

What? Who wants your sympathy? Clearly it lies with the elite controlled police. This is not just YOUR country, contrary to what you seem to think.

[-] 1 points by Spade2 (478) 2 years ago

Oh you have mine, but not the proletariats, and you won't until someone dies from the polices repression.

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[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

Wow, now that’s a way to win friends and influence people. I’m sure a news clip of that would win the hearts and minds of the people. Aren’t there enough anti-OWS people already without the masses watching some poor cops being beat and maybe killed by an violent mob?

Your post is the biggest bunch bullshit I’ve read this week. If you want to beat up people join a street gang.