Thousand march to oppose police repression in run-up to NATO summit

Chris Geovanis, Chicago Indymedia

Thousand march to oppose police repression in run-up to NATO summit

Chicago saw thousands of people in the streets Saturday in the run-up to the beginning of the NATO summit. with the afternoon's boisterous but peaceful protest marches marred by sweeping police violence.

Protests began in the morning at the Irving Park Brown Line public transit stop, where protesters donned hospital gowns and canvassed the local neighborhood, then assembled at noon for the “Healthcare not Warfare!” actionto protest the closure of half of the city’s public mental health clinics in a ‘cost-saving’ measure protesters say is both unnecessary and part of the city’s push to privatize public services.

At the same time, supporters of three men arrested in a Wednesday night raid at the Bridgeport apartment of Occupy Chicago activists were gathering at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse for the arrestees’ noon bail hearing on state terrorism charges -- allegations their attorneys call ludicrous. All three men had earlier in the week released a video that documented their targeted harassment by Chicago police, a tape which is said to have enraged local cops.

Protesters called for a 3:30PM emergency protest in the heart of the city’s financial district -- where Occupy Chicago has staged several large marches seeking to create an encampment that has been repeatedly thwarted by police and produced hundreds of arrests last year.

That emergency protest eventually linked up with a planned evening anti-capitalist march staged out of the Haymarket memorial and subsequently swelled to thousands, turning into a rolling wave of opposition to the Chicago police department’s sustained effort to thwart anti-NATO protests.

The protesters’ goal this week? To ratchet up attention on NATO, the military arm of the 1% -- a cold war relic with a clearly overtly aggressive military mission. NATO missions have killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, bombed Libya back into the stone age and allowed its rich oil resources to be steered toward more direct control of western oil companies, and turned a blind eye to the repressive regimes of allies in Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries. Member states of NATO, let by the U.S., supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, leaving that nation in ruins -- and its petroleum resources in the hands of western elites and their allies. Read more.

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