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Activists to demand permits to protest NATO/G8

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2012

Protesters to Emanuel: Keep your promise to protect civil liberties — grant G8/NATO protest permit applications and end threats to demonstrators.

Chicago, IL – The first day that they are legally allowed — activists will file applications for permits for a demonstration against the G8 and NATO summits, scheduled for Chicago from May 19-21, 2012. Organizers are planning for a Saturday, May 19th rally at Daley Plaza, followed by a march to the McCormack Place site of the summits. Activists will file the permit requests and convene their Tuesday press conference on the 9th floor of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, at the Transportation Department Office where parade permit applications are filed, at 10 a.m.
Members of the permit delegation will include political consultant and columnist Don Rose, anti-war and gay rights activist Andy Thayer, feminist and peace activist Pat Hunt, Puerto Rican community activist Alejandro Molina of National Boriqua Human Rights Network, and other members of CANG8 — the Coalition Against the NATO and G8 War & Poverty Agenda.
After a confrontation at a meeting of the Public Building Commission meeting last month, Emanuel reversed a decision to close Daley Plaza to all protests during the summits. The City must do more to guarantee civil liberties, say activists, who point to authorities’ long history of harassing peaceful protests, including two recent mass arrests of non-violent Occupy Wall Street protesters at Congress Parkway and Michigan Ave.
In recent months, Emanuel top cop Garry McCarthy has threatened mass arrests of protesters at the same time that the City has moved to thwart efforts to garner permits to protest during the G8/NATO meetings. McCarthy was a senior officer in the NYPD during the 2004 protests at the Republican National Convention, where police suppression of peaceful protests was widely decried by civil liberties advocates. When he was later police chief in Newark, New Jersey, McCarthy’s force drew intense criticism for a longstanding pattern of racial profiling and abuse of people of color.
Activists have also decried Emanuel’s proposals to create harsh requirements for downtown demonstrations, requirements activists describe as ridiculously burdensome — including potentially for even small pickets. Those new requirements, if passed, would include $1 million insurance requirements, a twenty-fold increase in fines for new ‘violations’ the proposed ordinance would create, and potential 10-day jail sentences for those new ‘violations.’ The proposed ordinance also orders “a description of any recording equipment, sound amplification equipment, banners, signs, or other attention-getting devices to be used in connection with the parade” — a requirement activists charge is an onerous assault on free speech and constitutional rights.
Other requirements state that as a condition of getting a permit, organizers would have to “agree to reimburse the city for any damage to the public way or to city property arising out of or caused by the parade” — a requirement protesters charge is so sweeping and subject to City interpretation they could be arbitrarily saddled with police costs that civilians already pay with their tax dollars. Protesters would also be required to submit “a line of march, which shall list all parade units in numerical order, with a description and an estimate of the size or length of each unit” — a requirement protesters also say is impossible for open marches and yet another clear effort to gravely restrict freedom of speech.
The City would have the authority to deny permit requests they deem do not sufficiently meet these requirements.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the new ordinance for passage on January 18.







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