Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chicago Protests NATO War-mongers!


Culminating a week of activities against the NATO aggressors Summit meeting in Chicago and the G8 Summit in Camp David, near Washington (moved there by President Obama to avoid meeting planned protests by a wide range of groups) thousands of US Peace Activists
and supporters staged the largest protest seen in Chicago for many years on Sunday, 20 May. An estimated 20,000 protesters took part in Sunday's demonstration despite police
terror tactics and city government attacks and slanders on the organisers for months on end
since the protest was announced in January this year.

As protesters tried to move east toward McCormick Place, police tried "kettling" tactics which produced reaction by some protesters being pushed by police. Officers responded by swinging their batons. The two sides were locked in a standoff  for nearly two hours, with police blocking the protesters' path and the crowd refusing  to leave. Some protesters had blood streaming down their faces.

Police were seen making arrests one by one and leading individual demonstrators away in handcuffs. After the clash near McCormick Place, Chicago Police  Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a news conference that the protests of  the NATO Summit resulted in 45 people being arrested and four officers suffering  injuries — one from a stab wound in the leg. 

Police appeared to be using precisely the tactics Superintendent Garry McCarthy said they would — extracting individuals from the crowd and quickly getting them away from the rest of the demonstrators. Several times they were seen pulling protesters into a line of officers, which parted briefly before quickly closing ranks again. Police also used "sound cannons" to
cause psychological shock and disorient demonstrators.Three activists who travelled to Chicago for the summit were accused of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack Obama's campaign headquarters, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home and other targets.
Their lawyers argued that the police had trumped up the charges to frighten away peaceful protesters. They told a judge it was undercover officers who brought the firebombs to an apartment on Chicago's South Side where the men were arrested. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former member of Obama's Government, tried all sorts of bureaucratic tricks and legal manueveres to restrict the right to demonstrate and protest in the city since the beginning of the year.

On Sunday, police said two other men were also in custody on charges they discussed making bombs prior to the summit. Police said the pair were not connected to the earlier arrests, although defence lawyers said all five were targeted by authorities to scare protesters away from the meeting.

New clashes erupted later in the night. Hundreds of protesters gathered late Sunday night near the Art Institute of Chicago as first lady Michelle Obama hosted a dinner for spouses of NATO leaders inside. At least 100 Chicago police officers in riot gear were also at the scene.

At the rally, many military veterans threw away medals they had received from being in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to wild cheers from the assembled crowds. The large demonstration indicated the widespread revulsion in the United States against the aggressive war-mongering of their Governments including the current Obama regime which has increased troop levels in Afghanistan to an all-time high. "Basically NATO is used to keep the poor poor and the rich rich," said John Schraufnagel, who travelled 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."

On Monday, 21 May, several hundred protesters gathered outside Boeing Aircraft offices in the City to continue the anti-NATO event. Boeing is one of the largest contractors to the US 
military who profit from the slaughter and destruction wreaked by NATO on innocent civilians
in many countries around the world.

Russia Today reported:

"NATO critics flocking to the city to stage mass protests make no secret of their negative attitude towards the alliance. Demonstrators want the money ($55M) pumped into the summit and its security to be spent on real needs.

RT’s Anastasia Churkina interviewed people on the city’s streets and their remarks about NATO have been overwhelmed by bitter resentment.

“NATO is a US-commanded military alliance responsible for wars and war crimes on a global basis,” one woman told RT.

“NATO as an organization no longer has a mandate. Occupy Chicago denies and demands NATO disband. They have no more purpose. They are spending our taxpayer dollars on wars and to bomb and destroy and murder civilians all over the world,” accuses Occupy Chicago press committee member Micah Philbrook.

“There is a pro-peace majority in the United States. We oppose war. We oppose the world’s pre-eminent war-making organization NATO. And we have a human agenda and a humane agenda that has no place for war,” political analyst and writer Rick Rozoff told RT".

Friday's Protest:

Thousands of protesters also took to Chicago’s streets ahead of the NATO Summit on Friday, 18 May. National Nurses United teamed up with trade unions and the Occupy movement to form a mass rally in the city centre.

The NNU members demanded a Robin Hood tax to be introduced on banks’ financial transactions. That demand was a supplement to the protest against proposals to cut back nurses pensions.

“We’ve worked 30 years for them and don’t want to get rid of them,” said Deb Holmes, a nurse at a hospital in Worcester.

Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Occupy activist Tom Morello performed live at the event.

Statement of the Combined USA Peace Groups:

"On May 19-21, Mayor 1% Rahm Emanuel will bring to Chicago military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers.

They meet on behalf of the 1% of the world, the rich and the powerful, the bankers and generals. Their agenda is to continue to impose austerity, or poverty, by cutting social spending for workers and the poor to maintain profitability for the rich and to launch more wars to stop the rise of the poor nations of the Third World.

The people of this fine city do not want these summits. The mayor has his own agenda. In anticipation of widespread opposition to the war & poverty agenda of the NATOG8, Mayor Rahm Emanuel passed a set of first-amendment crushing ordinances, known as “Sit Down Shut Up”, to stifle the exercise of free speech and assembly during the summits. The mayor single-handedly gave himself the ability to issue no-bid security contracts and deputize out-of-town law enforcement while imposing harsh restrictions on parades, marches and demonstrations.

But we will not be silenced. We will stand up to this corrupt system and say enough! Join Occupy Chicago, Coalition Against NATO/G8 (CANG8), the Midwest Antiwar Mobilization and many more as we gather in Chicago in May!

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 is a broad formation that includes labor unions, community groups, anti-war and international solidarity groups and faith based activists. From the CANG8 website:

    Protest the NATO/G8 Summit on Saturday, May 19th, 2012!
    Noon rally at Daley Plaza, then march to McCormick Place!
    Join in a legal, permitted, family-friendly march and rally that will end within sight and sound of the summit at McCormick Place!

At the invitation of the White House, military and civilian representatives of the 28-nation US-commanded and largely US-financed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers are meeting in Chicago, May 19-21, 2012. To that we say…

   " No to War and Austerity!
 Money out of politics! Represent for the people,        
not the money!
    No to NATO/G-8 Warmakers!
    Jobs, Healthcare, Education, Pensions, Housing & the Environment, Not War!"


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the eight wealthy G8 nations will 
gather in Chicago May 19th to 21st for "summit" meetings to plan future strategies.

They will make plans to continue the war and occupation in Afghanistan and to carry
out an aggressive new nuclear doctrine in violation of international law. They will make 
plans for new wars and occupations in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and 
elsewhere. And they will decide to continue escalating arms expenditures, expanding
the massive imperial system of environmentally destructive military bases around 
the world.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has reinvented itself and now claims the
"right" to conduct military attacks anywhere in the world on decision of an 
“international community” -- the elite One Percent in the NATO nations. Participation
in NATO is leading to increased military capabilities of the European countries and of 
the European Union, which collaborates closely with NATO on military strategy and 
which has been declared in "Strategic Alliance" with NATO.  NATO persists in arrogating 
to itself the "right" to unilaterally initiate a nuclear strike against any perceived threat.

This rapacious militarism benefits only the One Percent. The people of the NATO/G8
countries pay with tax increases, cutbacks in social services, increasing inequality,
poverty, racism, sexism, militarization of schools and loss of youth to war, environmental
damage, and destruction of civil rights and democratic systems of government. The
people in countries victimized by NATO war crimes and occupation pay with the theft 
of their resources and the destruction of their homes, livelihoods, communities, and
cultures - and often with their lives. Though more than 50,000 Libyans died in the recent
NATO intervention, NATO deems that venture a "success" and a model for future

G8 countries comprise only 14% of the world's population, but account for more than
70% of the world's military expenditures. All of the G8 countries except Russia are
members of NATO, and the 28-member countries of NATO account for 75% of world
military expenditures, with the U.S. covering the majority of NATO costs. Just a portion
of this spending could save the lives of millions of people who are in desperate need
and would provide essential resources for education and medical care and to reverse
environmental damage, and much more.

We refuse to accept the NATO/G8 policies of the elite One Percent. We refuse to live
under the terror of nuclear weapons. We demand an end to the nuclear arms race and
the dismantling of foreign military bases. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all
U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan. We demand an end to threats of intervention
in Syria, Iran, and other countries. We demand that international law and civil liberties be
respected and that resources be directed to serve human needs.

We call on all supporters of Peace to join with the US Peace Movement public protests
in Chicago, May 2012.

First Signatories (as of February 21st 2012):
Reiner Braun (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Germany), Claire Chastain 
(ICC No to War– No to NATO, France), Luis Gutierrez-Esparza (ICC No to War 
– No to NATO, Mexico), Kristine Karch (No to NATO Women’s Network, Germany), Tobias Pflüger (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Germany), Elsa Rassbach 
(ICC No to War – No to NATO, USA/Germany), (Lucas Wirl (Germany), 
Michael Youlton (ICC No to War – No to NATO, Ireland).

Áth Cliath/Dublin 21 Bealtaine/May 2012.

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