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Mayor Apologizes In Advance For Disruptions From G8/NATO Summits

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McCormick Place

McCormick Place (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel is apologizing ahead of time for those who may be inconvenienced when NATO and the world leaders of the G8 gather in Chicago next spring.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor acknowledged Tuesday that some people who scheduled weddings, bar mitzvahs, ordinations and other events downtown next May might feel compelled to change those dates because of the NATO and G8 summits and the expected protests.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

Emanuel said he’s sorry for any disruption the summits and protests might cause, but he also said he believes normal activities can take place during those days and any disruptions will be worth it.

“For our city that is trying to attract investments and companies; that’s a big opportunity. I apologize up front for any disruption,” Emanuel said. “But I think also we are a big city, a big metropolitan area; people will … be able to be accommodated with their events.”

The G8 and NATO summits are scheduled for May 15 to 22 at McCormick Place and are expected to draw major protests.

The mayor was also confronted Tuesday by protestors demanding permits to stage protests and a march during the summits. Demonstrators first gathered on Daley Plaza on Tuesday, then attending a Public Building Commission meeting, where they asked Emanuel to commit to permits for protests at Daley Plaza and Grant Park.

“Do you, Mayor Emanuel … publicly commit to allowing one or both of those areas to be available for First Amendment permitted protests?” protester Andy Thayer asked.

“Submit the application and we’ll be appropriately making sure that everybody has their right to have their First Amendment rights protected,” Emanuel told the protesters.

The mayor also addressed the planned protests earlier in the day at an unrelated news conference.

“Our entire approach, as you know, from the beginning has been about protecting people’s First Amendment rights, which will be protected going forward, and also about enforcing the law, which is also our responsibility,” Emanuel said. “And those two are not in conflict.”

The city has maintained the same policy in successfully dealing with the Occupy Chicago protestors, while at the same time meticulously planning for a much larger and more militant set of protests during the summits next May.

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