Protesters continue to demonstrate after Summit wraps up - FOX 32 News Chicago

Protesters continue to demonstrate after Summit wraps up

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After NATO officials wrapped up the Summit in Chicago on Monday, many protesters continued to march down Michigan avenue and other downtown Chicago streets. 

By nightfall, Chicago police had lined up, blocking protesters from crossing bridges along the Chicago River. Police were afraid protesters would take their demonstration into the more residential Gold coast neighborhood.

Earlier in the day, an estimated 500 protesters marched from Boeing headquarters to President Obama's national campaign office.

They made various stops along the way. The first was at Randolph and the Chicago River, where FOX Chicago News interviewed Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

McCarthy confirmed that Monday's march through downtown Chicago was un-permitted and un-scheduled, but he said that the Chicago police were happy to facilitate.

"This is the type of protest that is just a pleasure to work," McCarthy said.

He acknowledged the fact that these people were simply exercising their First Amendment rights – free speech and assembly – and they were doing so in an exceptionally peaceful manner.

The police promised to protect those engaging in peaceful demonstrations, and with three different groups of law enforcement, they did just that as the march moved through the city streets.

In response to the scrum between police and rough, forceful individuals after Sunday's anti-war march at the intersection of Michigan and Cermak, McCarthy wanted to make the distinction between protesters and criminals.

He said police clashed with criminals Sunday, not protesters. The police knew people were coming to the city to cause trouble and commit crimes, and that the situation was handled the way law enforcement determined it would be.

"These are protesters," McCarthy said, gesturing to the Occupy activists he walked with Monday. "Those were criminals who assaulted officers."

McCarthy said he very much appreciated the protesters' behavior on the street Monday, and applauded the work of the Chicago police, Illinois State Police and the Thin Blue Line of bikes and on foot.

When asked if he thought his presence on the ground, in the action had a positive effect on morale among the Chicago cops, McCarthy said that's what he'd been told. His presence at the Michigan and Cermak skirmish amplified his ability to make decisions regarding how to control the crowd, and reinforced many people's confidence in the officers' handling of the situation.

"I couldn't imagine being anywhere else," McCarthy said. "It's a privilege to be out here."

The protesters displayed a huge banner outside Boeing headquarters, which read "FOOD NOT BOMBS," as they shot paper airplanes through the crowd, symbolizing the planes the group thought the company would be better off manufacturing.

"Boeing has the blood of thousands on their hands," was written in chalk near the manufacturer's building.

One woman explained that Occupy planned the demonstration because they say Boeing is making money of a war being fought "for us, using our money," even though not all taxpayers want to be fighting it. She said they're celebrating a victory, and had a message for Boeing:

"We shut you down today, we're can shut you down every day, we're going to shut you down for good."

She said she does not feel concerned for her safety, because Occupy and the police are both aware that it's a peaceful protest – and they want it to stay that way.

"It's a beautiful day," she said. "We're just having fun."

FOX Chicago News interviewed one man at Clark and Madison, who happened upon the protest march by chance, and never thought he would join a movement like this.

The man explained that he worked for the Chicago Park District for 15 years, and was recently laid off. He was out trying to find a job Monday afternoon, stumbled upon the protest, and decided to join in.

He said he was fed up with the cuts the city is making – resulting in so many people losing their jobs – because the people are not benefiting from it. He said the city has money, and it's time he said something.

FOX Chicago's Patrick Elwood spoke with an Industrial Workers of the World labor union member Monday, and he said it's encouraging to see national movements like Occupy sending a message to Boeing and the big bankers.

"We see NATO as being the police for the G8," the union member said. "We don't like the bankers getting bailed out and the workers getting sold out.

"We're inspired by these other groups around the world that are organizing resistance to the harsh austerity measures caused by the financial sector – you know, the global recession? With the Occupy Wall Street movement, there are a lot of people showing themselves as working class people."

The group also stopped at City Hall, with a message for the mayor. They called him "Mayor 1 percent," because according to protesters, he's not listening to the people. They said he's a part of the 1 percent, and the people are the 99.

Protesters from all over the country joined Monday's march, and the group Seeds of Peace offered donated sandwiches and fruit to the crowd to keep them fed. They are still taking donations.

They geared up for another day of demonstrations Monday morning, featuring an all day rally at the Boeing headquarters. The Occupy movement claimed victory, since workers have been told to stay home.

There was growing crowd at Randolph and Ashland, but nothing like the crowds Sunday. The protest kicked off at 10 a.m. Protestors marched from Union Park and to the aerospace and defense contractor's headquarters.

Chicago police stationed a surveillance truck near Union Park to monitor the group's actions as they prepared to move to the intersection of Washington and the Chicago River. They remained hands-off as of 9 a.m. Monday, patrolling the park.

The company erected barriers around the building, citing construction. But Occupy Chicago said the extra security is a response to their protest Monday.

Occupy wanted to shut down "the war machine." A spokeswoman for Occupy said the rally will be celebratory, with singing and dancing, and will definitely remain non-violent.

Andy Thayer, of Occupy Chicago and CANG8, explained why the demonstration at Boeing headquarters is taking place Monday.

"I'm merely a participant here I'm happy to say so that's my role. But what we're focusing on today is the depravations of Boeing corporation which really represents the worst of the 1 percent," Thayer said. "This is a corporation that is not only profiting immensely off of the America wars abroad these unjust wars, but its also taking us to the cleaners here at home."

Thayer said that Boeing is a corporation that paid no federal taxes from 2008 to 2011 and they got $31 million to bring a handful of out of state jobs to Chicago to escape a pro-union environment in the Pacific Northwest. On top of that he said they got $31 million of our tax dollars here and at the same time our city is swimming in red ink

"We need this money for education but they have the money to spare to give over to the welcome for NATO extravaganzas," Thayer said.

The office headquarters got a heads up from some of the emails and announcements that the protest was going to occur on the May 21, so they shut down the office - there's nobody there. When asked what the point is of still protesting at the building, Thayer replied:

"Well for one thing we get to talk with you about the issues about why were protesting and I think it's a big victory that Boeing decided to closed down now we got to work on the 364 days of the year."

Boeing is the largest aerospace company in the world, employing 171,000 people worldwide.

Boeing's 500 employees at the Chicago headquarters work out of the top 12 floors of this building.

Other protests could pop up anywhere in the city. As we've seen over the past few days, many protesters don't feel the need for permits or forewarning.

As one protester told FOX Chicago News, "The constitution is my protest permit."

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