It goes without doubt that events such as the Chicago NATO summit, draw out impressive numbers of protesters. Chicago was hit with rallies all through the week before the summit, but during the two-day meeting more protesters took over the streets.
These last few days were a pain for people living in Chicago. Protests started long before Sunday, the first day of the Chicago NATO summit, with rallies against everything from economy to the Afghanistan war. Yesterday’s rally hit Chicago the most, as protesters and police forces clashed a few blocks away from where the summit is taking place.
Yesterday, in Chicago’s Grant Park, demonstrators gathered for a peaceful rally. By the end of it, a group of protesters already decided they weren’t going to leave the location. When the police ordered the crowd to disperse, this group refused the request and pushed against riot gear wearing police officers.
The clash continued for two hours and as everybody was keeping an eye on Chicago, it didn’t take long before local television networks would air images of the rally. Images of protesters with blood on their faces and police officers hitting demonstrators with their batons reminded of last year’s violent clashes.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that 45 people were arrested yesterday. “They rallied. They charged the cops and they assaulted the officers. The finger should be pointed at the people who assaulted the cops” said McCarthy. He added that four police officers were injured. One of them was even stabbed in the leg.
Occupy Chicago accused the police department of unnecessary brutality. The organization uploaded on Twitter photos of the injured protesters and posted updates throughout the day. One read: “The police have several demonstrators detained behind their lines, calling for medics. Bloodied protesters being dragged out of sight now”.
However, as Garry McCarthy explains, the police wasn’t that brutal. In fact, he has even accused protesters of painting their faces with red paint to make the networks believe the confrontations were more intense than believed.
Today, the protesters have announced plans to “shut down” the Boeing headquarters in Chicago. They will rally against Boeing for the company’s ties with the Defense Department. The company has already prepared for a day of protests, sending employees home and enforcing the security team.