NATO in Chicago: 1,000+ protest for health care, not warfare at mayor's house

Claudia Garcia-Rojas

Chicago - The Mental Health Movement’s March 19th 2012 “Healthcare not Warfare - Take the fight to Rahm's house!” protest drew over 1, 000 NATO protesters.

The protest started at the Irving Park Brown Line where several people were given hospital gowns with "Healthcare Not Warfare," and, "Clinics Not NATO," written on them. People canvassed the surrounding neighborhood, which is Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s ward. During the canvassing, protesters asked neighborhood residents if they knew of any nearby mental health clinics, and informed them that Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is responsible for the closing down of Chicago’s community health clinics.

After an hour-long rally at Horner Park on Irving Park and California, people walked down towards Montrose Avenue heading east towards Emmanuel’s residence located at 4228 N Hermitage. There was a heavy police presence. About 30 police officers were lined up against the west-side of the block gating Emmanuel’s house with their bicycles.

Several members of The Mental Health Movement spoke on the necessity of keeping the clinics opened. While a group of protesters remained camping outside or Emmanuel’s, another faction of the group walked down Berteau street to the Lincoln Avenue intersection, where they did another mic check.

Linda Hatcher, who is bipolar and suffers from depression, has been going to the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic for many years. The clinic is one of six -- half of those in the city -- slated for closure due to what the city claims is 'budget constraints.'

"I've been getting lots of support at the clinic," said Hatcher. "Emanuel, we gonna keep on fighting, we're not gonna give up, we're keep on pushing until we win this battle."

The protest continued as the second group stopped traffic on Lincoln Avenue as they made their way to Welles Park on Montrose Avenue.

Some members of that protest later joined an emergency protest to oppose the indictment today on state terrorism charges of three visiting activists. Police are claiming a home beer brewing kit was being used to make Molotov cocktails, a charge the activists and their National Lawyers Guild attorneys flatly deny. That protest march is ongoing. View it here:

View Ms. Hunder's interview here:

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