From The Trenches Radio for May: Protesting the Chicago 2012 NATO Summit
From The Trenches is the monthly radio program of the Chicago Independent Media Center.
ON THE SHOW IN MAY 2011:
* ACTIVISTS EXPLAIN WHY THEY OPPOSE NATO
We'll hear from the opening press conference organized by NATO protest participants who explain in detail their reasons to protest the Chicago 2012 NATO Summit.
* EXCERPTS FROM A DEBATE ON NATO
And we'll hear excerpts from a debate on NATO featuring NATO scholar and activist Rick Rozoff and Staff Sergeant Iris Feliciano.
* Plus, headlines from the streets of Chicago around the 2012 NATO summit.
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From The Trenches airs on the 4th Sunday of each month at 6pm on WLUW 88.7 on Chicago northside radio:
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RECENT HEADLINES FROM CHICAGO INDYMEDIA:
Mayor 1% blinks: City Denies, Restores nurses' NATO Permit
The City of Chicago reversed its revocation of a protest permit for the nurses' union National Nurses United in a stunning display of the power of popular outrage. The group received permission from the City of Chicago months ago to stage a mass rally for economic justice on the eve of the NATO summit, only to have that permit suddenly cancelled on the week of May 10th. After threats of a lawsuit and vocal protests by Chicago and national nurses and public supporters, along with biting criticism by musician and supporter Tom Morello, the City blinked, reversing the move to try to kettle the nurses in Grant Park far from the planned Daley Plaza rally site. The nurses publicly praised Tom Morello and public support for helping to pressure the City to back down. The rally took place on May 18th as scheduled.
Chicago Protests Racist Immigration Policies
Father José Landaverde and Occupy El Barrio led a march against immigration detention from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood to downtown Chicago, ending outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chicago Immigration Court. Organizer Crystal Vance Guerra reported to Chicago Indymedia that the action is "addressing issues that impact us here in Chicago, but also making connections to NATO." Vance Guerra asked why "the city of Chicago is willing to put in money to fund a summit of people who are propagating wars across the globe...How is it we have money for war and [immigration] detention but not education?...There's all this money for war but not for the people." Marchers rallied outside the Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission in Little Village then marched to the Lincoln Methodist Church in Pilsen. They met up with Occupy members and marched downtown to the Chicago Immigration Court at Van Buren and Clinton to hold a press conference and rally against ICE policies. Activists then picketed the space and several activists blocked the doors for over an hour, restricting access to the building. Two of the activists blocking the doors, José Landaverde and Emma Lozano, were arrested after police demanded protestors vacate the space "at request of building management." While the building management's requests were quickly headed, the protestors requests for and end to deportations were disregarded by the police.
Chicago Police Department plans to silence media coverage leaked
The Chicago Police Department prepped Chicago's corporate media for the NATO with an eye to suppress independent media coverage. A PDF file beginning with the foreboding words, “NOT INTENDED FOR GENERAL DISTRIBUTION. FOR MEDIA GUIDANCE ONLY” included some important “Ground Rules” such as: ”...media access generally will be the same as public access. Credentials will, however, allow media personnel access to media-only areas. No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.” Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken.” ”Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest.” ”...the Chicago Police Department does not intend to “break ground” in terms of enforcing the Illinois eavesdropping law. In short, police will not interfere if we videotape or record audio of police activities, including arrests.” ”Reporters who carry backpacks should be prepared to show their content to police. You may be asked to fire up and demonstrate any equipment that does not look familiar to officers.” ”It is the intent of Chicago Police to provide close access, with direct vision and contact with those entering and leaving events/marches/rallies. But police emphasized that those who choose to walk amid the protesters are “on your own.”
Police raid Bridgeport home, step up harrassment of NATO activists
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemned a preemptive police raid that took place at approximately 11:30pm Wednesday, May 16th in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and instances of harassment on the street, in which Chicago police unlawfully detained, searched, and questioned NATO protesters. The Bridgeport raid was apparently conducted by the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department and resulted in as many as 8 arrests. According to witnesses in Bridgeport, police broke down a door to access a 6-unit apartment building near 32nd & Morgan Streets without a search warrant. Police entered an apartment with guns drawn and tackled one of the tenants to the floor in his kitchen. Two tenants were handcuffed for more than 2 hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring unit, repeatedly calling one of the tenants a slur. A search warrant produced 4 hours after police broke into the apartment was missing a judge's signature, according to witnesses. Among items seized by police in the Bridgeport raid were beer-making supplies and at least one cell phone. "Preemptive raids like this are a hallmark of National Special Security Events," said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People's Law Office. "The Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies should be aware that this behavior will not be tolerated and will result in real consequences for the city." In another incident, 3 plainclothes police officers unlawfully stopped, handcuffed, and searched a NATO protester on Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at approximately 2pm on May 17th. According to the protester, he did not consent to a search and there was no probable cause to detain him. The police also photographed and questioned him about where he was from, how he got to Chicago, how long it took, what he was doing here, where he was staying, who he was with, and how long he was planning to say in Chicago. The protester refused to answer any questions and was eventually released.
Thousands take to the streets in grand march against NATO; Police Attack, Trap Protesters
Representatives of CANG8, Occupy Chicago and Chicago Action Medical have condemned systemic police violence at the CANG8/IVAW anti-NATO protest on Sunday, May 20th, and more broadly, condemned the military machine that has brought thousands of protesters together in Chicago for a week of actions and events to oppose the NATO meeting and its larger agenda. "The police have been preparing for this mentally, physically, emotionally -- preparing to beat us up for a year," said CANG8 organizer Joe Iosbaker. "This is the violence that NATO is, that NATO brings with them." Sunday's police violence came on the heels of a peaceful anti-NATO march designed to draw attention to NATO's role as the military arm of global elites -- and to the enormous destruction that NATO military action brings to the people whose countries it bombs and occupies. At the terminus of Sunday's march, which authorities refused to allow within site and sound of the NATO summit, 45 military veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq condemned U.S. military policy and threw their medals in the direction of the NATO gathering, in a refutation of NATO's actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond. On Sunday, after IVAW members tossed their medals in the direction of the NATO summit, police moved swiftly to push people away from their rally site at Michigan and Wabash, with many protesters kettled north of Cermak and west of the east side of Wabash, and hundreds unclear on how to -- or unable to -- exit. Many of those kettled protesters watched in horror as the police unleashed a wave of clubbing on protesters near the front of the line, leaving the area between the two kettled groups of protesters littered with empty plastic water bottles and the shoes and hats of more than 40 protesters who were dragged out of the crowd, beaten and arrested. National Lawyers Guild attorneys reported on Monday that the majority of those arrested at the scene have been released, refuting the police assertion that only violent protesters were taken into custody. Sunday's police violence after the veterans' action came on the heels of a series of police assaults on boisterous but non-violent Occupy protesters on Saturday as they wound their way through the city in a series of converging actions. The police attacks on local Occupy organizers in recent days represent the first time the police have overtly targeted the local movement with brutality. Protesters also reported a number of undercover officers in the Sunday march who were apparently inciting some protesters to violence. Protesters say that this pattern of police infiltration and incitement continued into Sunday night. Police also arrested five activists in the run-up to Sunday's march on terrorism charges -- with Truthout reporting that all five are linked by the word of two police informants, “Mo” and “Gloves,” in what increasingly is being viewed as cases of entrapment in which the informants' allegations provide the only 'evidence' of wrongdoing. “There was no excuse for [Sunday's police] violence,” said volunteer medic Kelly Hayes. “I saw friends injured again and again. We do all we can to look out for each other, but this city is supposed to look out for us.”