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Activists Demonstrate Against NATO Arrests, City Summit Spending

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 5, 2012 1:30PM

Nearly 100 demonstrators massed at Jackson and LaSalle yesterday evening to highlight what they call targeted repression and the use of entrapment tactics by law enforcement of activists involved with the NATO summit protests and occupy movements. At 5:30 p.m. several dozen demonstrators paired off and zip-tied themselves to one another to symbolize what they see as the politically motivated arrests of protesters throughout the NATO summit.

They marched with others from the corner through the Loop chanting slogans like “we have nothing to fear from home brewed beer” and “we're activists, not terrorists,” before ending at Daley Plaza, where activists held a press conference. The speakers were flanked by demonstrators holding up masks featuring photos of two people they say infiltrated various local movements on behalf of law enforcement in order to incite violence to justify police surveillance and arrests.

In addition to accusations of COINTELPRO like tactics used by law enforcement, protesters also criticized the money the city spent on security measures for the summit, saying that it could be better spent elsewhere. Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, a member of the Mental Health Movement which has spearheaded 24-hour demonstrations at two closed mental health clinics in Chicago, spoke about one of the informants police used to apprehend the three men arrested ahead of the NATO summit protests now facing terrorism charges:

“Why in a city where we're told we don't have resources for keeping publicly funded schools or resources to keep open our city's mental health clinics...we don't have resources for the services or jobs programs that communities need, why Rahm Emanuel would have made a decision to handcuff this man to myself to spend money on this him and another informant on infiltrating our movement and dividing us.”

Matt McLoughlin, a member of Occupy Chicago, added “We are sick and tired of the government wasting our tax dollars, infiltrating non-violent groups, putting pressure on young activists, entrapping them, to try to destroy something that is working to build a better world.”

So far, the city has yet to receive or even ask for most of the grant funding promised by the feds to cover the security spending for the NATO summit, the Chicago Reader reported. Last year, officials trumpeted that Chicago would receive $55 million in federal grants to help prepare for the summit, but later, it was revealed that money was designated for OMEC's every day operations. In March this year, the city announced a separate $19 million in federal grants were “made available” for security expenses, but only applied for $7.5 million. None of that money has been received so far either.