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Chicago City Council Approves NATO/G8 Ordinances Amidst Protest

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 19, 2012 3:00PM

2011_8_29_NATO.gif As we figured, the City Council passed two ordinances Mayor Emanuel introduced to limit protests at the May NATO/G8 summits, according to the Huffington Post. The council approved tighter restrictions on parade organizers, give authority to Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy to deputize law enforcement from other states and closes parks to the public for an extra two hours. The City Council also approved blanket spending authority to the Mayor for the events.

Emanuel tried to trumpet his concessions to protest groups and concerned aldermen, saying “My mother used to take me to civil rights marches and anti-war marches. That’s how I got interested in politics. That’s okay for people to feel passionate. It’s also our responsibility to modernize this so people can express their First Amendment rights and the law can be enforced as appropriate.”

Still, the concessions won’t be enough for protest groups. Nearly 100 protesters from Stand Up Chicago, Occupy Chicago and the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) showed up to the council meeting. NBC5 reports several demonstrators were escorted out of the meeting. Ald. Joe Moore (49th) attempted to offer reasons for the ordinances, saying that fines haven’t been changed in 40 years, demonstrators shouted “We vote no.” Moore's office later released a statement which congratulated the Mayor and City Council on the ordinances, calling the criticism of them hyperbolic and saying that "a number of the Mayor's proposals actually expand first amendment protections."

In a press release, the coalition of groups said though the bill’s passage is a “defeat for our movement,” they will continue to fight on. “We have the right to protest against war, austerity and inequality. Mayor Emanuel, you’ll see us in the streets of Chicago: our streets.”