The U.S. Secret Service released security plans last Friday for the NATO Summit to be held in Chicago on Friday. According to reports, major roadways, tourist attractions, and parking lots will be closed. Closures will affect areas from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago.
Not surprisingly, protesters are not pleased at all with the plan. Andy Thayer of the Coalition Against NATO/G-8, told the Associated Press that protesters cannot get within sight of the summit venue and will be kept at least three blocks away from McCormick Place, where 50 world leaders will be meeting.
The G-8 Summit was originally planned to be in Chicago as well, but the White House scrapped the G-8’s Chicago location in March and moved it to Camp David saying the change of venue was “to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners.”
In the meantime, The Chicago Sun Times is reporting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office bought more than 8,500 face shields for the city’s police department:
“It’s an urgent thing. They want ’em by May 15th. Their intent is to outfit all of the officers Chicago Police have with the new face shield for the NATO summit,” said Super Seer President Steve Smith, who is hiring a dozen employees to “ramp up” production.
“Whenever there is a G-8 or NATO summit, it’s a very volatile situation with protesters. In a riot-type situation, they do throw liquid containing urine and feces at police officers. Which is why Chicago wanted an improved face shield with the liquid” seal.
The Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields told the Sun Times that it was demanded of the mayor’s office to buy these face masks to protect officers from being blinded by bags of urine and feces that are thrown by “anarchists” and other militant protesters.
The Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross told media outlets in late April they were told to prepare for a mass evacuation from Chicago at the direction of the U.S. Secret Service and the City of Chicago.
In 1999, the World Trade Organization held its meeting in Seattle and violence on the streets erupted between protesters and police. Delegates were prevented from getting to their meetings and hotels by protesters and police used water cannons, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and stun grenades as a means to disperse unruly crowds. Protesters destroyed store property including: Old Navy, Starbucks, Niketown, and an FAO Schwarz.
The NATO Summit in Strasbourg, France in 2009 attracted riots during the two day event. Protesters set fires at hotels, looted stores, vandalized cars, and smashed windows at various shops.
While some might say the hype from protest organizers around the NATO Summit will be just that, citing the buildup to the May Day protests and eventual national yawn over the protests themselves, a NATO Summit protest organizer told the Sun Times, “We made it pretty clear we didn’t want arrests that could lead to deportations, so we asked everyone to restrain and not cause problems,” he said. “There will be plenty of opportunities at NATO where whoever wants to, can get arrested.”