Chicago Busts 18 in NATO Protests

Police say marches largely peaceful, but expect bigger turnout today

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted May 20, 2012 7:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hours of protest marches by up to 1,000 anti-NATO demonstrators and clashes with police in Chicago's Loop led to about 18 arrests last night, but no serious damage or injuries, reports the AP. Protesters tested police barriers as they tried to make their way north of the Chicago River to the upscale downtown area where most of the 60 NATO heads of state and VIPs are staying. But the demonstrators were unable to pass by the authorities and eventually the marches petered out, with most dispersing by 11pm, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"If anything else happens, the plan is to go in and get the people who create the violent acts, take them out of the crowd, and arrest them," said the Chicago police superintendent. "We're not going to charge the crowd wholesale—that's the bottom line." Some protesters shouted against the arrest of three men yesterday on terror charges, but overall most demonstrators were peaceful. Still, protesters were gearing up for a much larger showing today. "I'm pretty impressed with what we did, but I'm not looking forward to waking up and doing it again tomorrow," said one protester. "But when I wake up tomorrow I think I'll feel differently."

An anti-NATO protestor commandeers a police barricade during a march yesterday in Chicago.
An anti-NATO protestor commandeers a police barricade during a march yesterday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Anti-NATO protestors form a barricade in front of mounted police officers during a march yesterday in Chicago.
Anti-NATO protestors form a barricade in front of mounted police officers during a march yesterday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Chicago Occupy Wall Street Protesters march through the streets of downtown Chicago, Illinois yesterday, on the eve of the NATO summit.
Chicago Occupy Wall Street Protesters march through the streets of downtown Chicago, Illinois yesterday, on the eve of the NATO summit.   (Getty Images)
Police swing their batons to try and keep demonstrators from breaking through their lines durijng a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago.
Police swing their batons to try and keep demonstrators from breaking through their lines durijng a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago.   (Getty Images)
Chicago Occupy Wall Street Protesters march through the streets of downtown Chicago, Illinois, yesterday, on the eve of the NATO summit.
Chicago Occupy Wall Street Protesters march through the streets of downtown Chicago, Illinois, yesterday, on the eve of the NATO summit.   (Getty Images)
A demonstrator is arrested during a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago, Illinois.
A demonstrator is arrested during a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago, Illinois.   (Getty Images)
Police try to keep demonstrators from breaking through their lines during a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago.
Police try to keep demonstrators from breaking through their lines during a march through the downtown streets yesterday in Chicago.   (Getty Images)
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