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No NATO and G8 Protests: Updates, info, and reflections

Live Streaming from Chicago. (Active as of 6:26 EST):

Live Streaming from Timcast (Tim Pool) in Chicago: http://www.ustream.tv/timcast
Just started streaming at 12:30 local, Chicago time/1:30 EST
Tim Stream live as of 6:27pm, though in and out with wireless zones


The powers that be had originally scheduled The NATO Summit and THE G8 to happen around the same time, in the same city, Chicago. When it appeared that the American people would respond with massive demonstrations and righteous anger about war and exploitation, the powers that be changed the G8 meeting to Camp David, which is a secure, military installation. Many activists, and especially the Occupy movement, decided logistically to focus on Chicago and NATO. Though, you can see a great flier that shows how NATO and The G8 are similar problems: here.

With the tactical decision to focus on Chicago, the protests in Camp David, Maryland have been much smaller. Here is an article covering both events at The Guardian UK.

Photos from G8 at Camp David: here. (Includes image of lots of politicians, and one protester.)


For information about events in Chicago, where NATO is meeting, you can got to Occupy Chicago: here.

Two important events:

The big march of the No NATO events seems to be today, Sunday May 20th, starting from Grant Park/Chicago. We have heard a start time of 2pm or 3pm.

Shut Down Boeing demonstration will happen on Monday, May 21st.

As of 6:15pm EST in Chicago: Reports are that the march has been mostly peaceful. But, there have been some clashes with police and some arrests. Currently, the police are moving at the end of the march, as it were. Reports that the Chicago Police has warned they will use noise weapons.

Some of our occupy friends may have followed Live Streaming by Tim over these last few months. Tim was in a car with demonstrators who were stopped by police. There is some footage of their stop at Youtube: here.

Tim is LiveStreaming: here. Last night, Tim and Luke and other demonstrators were stopped by police, guns were pointed at them, they were interrogated, their car was searched, and phones and equipment were beat against the side of the car.

Live Streaming from Chicago Indy Media: here.

** (Very Good) Live Blogging at The Chicago Tribune: here. At about 11am, already 2,000 protesters gathered at Grant Park for anti-NATO march!

A stray report at 5:14pm suggests “75,000” protesters. (I only found that huge estimate in one place.)

A report at an ABC local says: “Police estimate between 1,800 and 2,200 people are marching, but Occupy Chicago estimates a crowd between 3,000 and 5,000.”

Live Blogging at the local, Chicago, NBC news station: here. (Sorry, lots of commercials.) Sunday, 5/20/2012 – “10:18 a.m.: President Barack Obama’s motorcade departs the Sheraton Towers, headed for the McCormick Place. His first meeting is with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.”

For our NYC area readers:

At OccupyWallSt.org, they announced the following:

OWS NYC: Emergency DA Meeting – Sun 2pm, Washington Sq Park, NYC [Today! May 20, 2012]

Video from Chicago on 5/19 posted at Occupy Long Island FaceBook:

Some Information and Reflections on the NATO meeting, the NATO demonstrators, and the effect of the demonstrations.

Often, people wonder if demonstrations are having any effect. Some of the reasons for demonstrations are: To raise public awareness about problems such as war; to shape the public discourse; to affect the agenda being discussed by leaders; and to solve the problem entirely (ie: end the war.)

With this in mind, it is interesting and heartening that there is a headline today that seems to specifically “give the demonstrators what they want”. A BBC headline featured at Google News is “Nato summit to discuss withdrawal from Afghanistan” Unfortunately, when you read it closer, you see that it is not truly monumental. They are only suggesting that NATO is discussing an already suggested timeline to withdraw by 2014. So, the headline is something of an empty promise that seems to address a concern and alleviate angst, without true substance. But, at least the concern was heard and met with attention (and/or rhetoric.)

Also, important to remember, is that while the discussion and demonstrations happen, the war rages on. So, it should bring all sides down to earth again to note that two soldiers and two children were killed today in Afghanistan. From an AFP story:

Two NATO soldiers were killed in an attack in Afghanistan Sunday as alliance leaders gathered in Chicago for a summit dominated by plans to pull troops out of the Afghan war.

Two children also died and several civilians were wounded as a suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy in Tirin Kot…

At least 162 troops with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have died in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP count based on the website icasualties.org.

More than 3,000 have been killed since the US led an invasion to topple the Taliban regime in late 2001…

In the United States, as in other countries around the world, demonstrators are not always met with justice and wisdom by the government and police. In Chicago, there were two instances of what seem to be unfair “round-ups” of possible, potential demonstrators. People are calling one set of such demonstrators “The NATO 3”. It appears that the young men may have had a desire to protest in a totally nonviolent manner (one of them was preparing to be a medic for the event). In addition, the National Lawyers Guild points out that it is totally inappropriate to charge them with terrorism. There is a story at Firedoglake: here.

The United States must embrace demonstrations, the petitioning of government, and nonviolent protest. For police to harass demonstrators — and other travelers — in the lead-up to an event like NATO is wrong, and counterproductive to peace, freedom and democracy.


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