POLICE BEAT PROTESTERS WITH BATONS
By Dock Walls, @dockwalls
Up to now, there had been few arrests as NATO summit protesters were peaceful and the police were tolerant. However, as the crowds began to swell, the police in full riot gear became more aggressive. Using techniques and strategies designed to break up the large groups of protesters, they separated small segments of them and segregated them into more controllable groups. That made it easier to force protesters further west and away from McCormick Place, the site of the summit.
While protesters have taunted the police, Chicago police have been seen wildly swinging their batons and pummeling protesters. Police claim the Black Bloc is primarily responsible for the violent activity. The Black Bloc movement is an intimidating style of dress and fearless form of protest. It is not a group in the quantifiable sense. Those practicing the Black Bloc style typically wear black clothing and some form of covering over their face. The Black Bloc is a “stand your ground” measure.
Authorities allege the three men, labeled “Domestic Terrorists” by authorities, who were arrested just ahead of the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit, were proponents of the the Black Bloc philosophy.
Police insist these Caucasian U.S. citizens were allegedly plotting to blow up Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters, Attack Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and attack four Chicago police stations. Police seized a large cache of guns, explosives and other weapons. The attorney representing the detainees insist they were entrapped by authorities, who provided them the weapons.
On Saturday, marchers in Chicago seeking to protest the NATO summit were frustrated by police who kept them confined to a few square blocks. Occasionally, the protesters attempted to break through police lines and go beyond the boundaries. This resulted in pushing and shoving matches with the police.
Over the last few days, NATO protesters have begun to better organize. The Woodlawn-based STOP organization lead 500 marchers to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home to protest the closure of several of the city’s mental health clinics. Activist Zakiyyah Muhammed said, “the money our government is spending on war and giving to foreign countries should be used to treat people who are suffering from mental illness. Rahm spent $14 million on the NATO summit but can’t find $3.2 million to keep these clinics open.”
President Obama arrived in Chicago Saturday evening fresh from the G8 summit at Camp David. The 28 NATO Members are expected to discuss the War in Afghanistan and Missile Defense. Union and their membership want their government to focus on job creation.