Sunday, May 20, 2012

What are They Protesting?

CBS News reports on the protests on the NATO summit:
Thousands of protesters walked the sweltering streets of Chicago on Sunday to vent their opposition to NATO and the government leaders meeting just a few hundred yards away.
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CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports that as their chants echoed off the facades of downtown skyscrapers, a massive cordon of police - including SWAT teams - marked their every footstep and led them along their approved path.

The ranks of the more violence-prone participants had been thoroughly infiltrated by undercover officers days ago, including three arrested last week who prosecutors accused of conspiracy to commit terrorism.
There was also a cyber attack on the city of Chicago's website that lasted several hours. The hacker group which calls itself Anonymous claimed responsibility.

"We are actively engaged in actions against the Chicago police department and encourage anyone to take up the cause," the hacker group said in a statement.

But while some demonstrators were looking for trouble, for the most part the protests have been peaceful - something the city police superintendent noted amid the crowds along Chicago's lakefront.

"You're seeing us facilitating peaceful protests, protecting people, providing for the public safety, while at the same time being intolerant of crimes being committed," said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
It's not really clear what they are protesting, however. This article from the Associated Press states:
Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Chicago on Sunday in one of the city's largest demonstrations in years, airing grievances about war, climate change and a wide range of other complaints as world leaders assembled for a NATO summit.

The protest, which stirred worries about violence in the streets, was largely peaceful until the end, when a small group of demonstrators briefly clashed with a line of police who tried to keep them from the lakeside convention center where President Barack Obama is hosting the gathering. 
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Some participants called for the dissolution of NATO, the 63-year-old military alliance that is holding its 25th formal meeting in Chicago.

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"Basically NATO is used to keep the poor poor and the rich rich," said John Schraufnagel, who traveled from Minneapolis to Chicago for the march. Since the end of the Cold War, he said, the alliance has become "the enforcement arm of the ruling 1 percent, of the capitalist 1 percent."

Peace activists joined with war veterans and people more focused on the economy. Marchers assembled at Grant Park with signs denouncing NATO, including ones that read: "War(equals)Debt" and "NATO, Go Home."

But the crowd was mostly filled with protesters whose primary concerns had little to do with the discussions at the summit.

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