CHICAGO, May 18, 2012 — Today marked the first major demonstration of NATO weekend in Chicago. National Nurses United (NNU) held a rally in Daley Plaza in the Loop. Occupy Chicago marched from LaSalle and Jackson Streets north to the rally. Several hundred people participated in the march.
While the march was loud with a festive atmosphere, it was peaceful. Upon arriving at the Daley Center the Occupy marchers dispersed into the crowd of nurses and other groups.
Police estimate between 2400 and 2800 people converged on the Daley Center at noon.
Most were members or supporters of NNU. They were clad in red and many wore green Robin Hood-style hats and masks. NNU is promoting the Robin Hood tax. The tax would be similar to a sales tax. It would be levied on financial and investment transactions. Like Robin Hood, the nurses want to steal from one group to give to another. Who would receive is questionable.
One man from Buffalo held up a flag ala Les Miserables. Police surrounded him and asked that he remove the flag from its pole. The police commander claimed the poll could be used as a weapon. Police took the pole, assuring the man he could retrieve it after the protest.
The rally also had a festive atmosphere. Beatles music was blaring and people were dancing until the speakers arrived and took to the podium.
There was an encounter with police on the Michigan Avenue bridge when one of the protesters climbed the bridge tower to tear a NATO/Chicago poster down. One protester was arrested.
Tomorrow morning the Mental Health Movement and Occupy Chicago will march to and protest in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house. The Mental Health Movement has been protesting mental health clinic closings throughout the city.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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