- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
G-8 move puts protest plans in flux
With only NATO in town, marches should be smaller
CHICAGO — The stage seemed set for an epic showdown: G-8 and NATO leaders planned to hold back-to-back summits in Chicago that activists predicted could draw tens of thousands of people protesting everything from war in Central Asia to unemployment and education cuts at home.
But at the last minute, President Obama moved the Group of Eight economic meeting to Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat in Frederick County, Md., where demonstrators will be kept far away. Chicago kept the NATO meeting, which will focus on the war in Afghanistan and other international security matters - not the economy.
That left activists with a new challenge: persuading groups as diverse as teachers, nurses and union laborers to show up anyway for a cause that might not align with their most heartfelt issues.
“Our fear was that [they] would not march with us because their agenda was primarily economic,” said Joe Iosbaker, a Chicago anti-war activist and member of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda. He said protest organizers have been working to link U.S. war spending to economic cuts at home in a bid to pump up turnout.
The message, he said, is “starting to sink in: NATO is the armed wing of the 1 percent” - the wealthiest Americans targeted in the nationwide Occupy movement.
Even so, the protests are almost sure to be smaller and less dramatic than originally expected.
But the NATO alliance is seen by most Americans as “something useful,” even though it faces significant opposition in Europe, said Luis Fernandez, a sociology professor at Northern Arizona University who studies protests.
The G-8 summit “would have brought more protesters and more anger because you could raise up the flag of the social class,” said Dominic A. Pacyga, a Columbia College history professor who has written a book about Chicago. That’s not so easy with the NATO summit, where 50 heads of state will discuss issues such as the campaign to replace the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and European missile defense.
But for protesters, Chicago still offers a chance to capitalize on the international media coverage the summit will draw. For Mr. Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, it’s an opportunity to showcase their town as a global city. And they don’t want to be embarrassed if the protests turn violent, police overreact or something else goes wrong, especially in a presidential election year.
Mr. Obama said he moved the G-8 so he could meet with leaders in a more intimate setting than Chicago’s cavernous McCormick Place convention center, but most observers believe the threat of protests played a role, too.
“The separation of events was pretty smart in terms of law enforcement, but it’s interesting because it shows that they were worried enough about the atmosphere on the ground to change the entire event,” Mr. Fernandez said. “They saw things building up to what could have been a perfect storm.”
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- In Colorado, a marijuana holiday tries to go mainstream
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- UNICEF launches 'Mr. Poo' mascot in India to curb public defecation
- See the scathing documents detailing $600 billion squandered in Afghanistan
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.