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NATO/G-8 Protesters Win Right To Set Up In Daley Plaza

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A sign carried by protesters planning demonstrations at the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago in 2012. The protesters went to City Hall on Nov. 16, 2011, to discuss permits for their planned demonstrations. (Credit: CBS)

A sign carried by protesters planning demonstrations at the G8 and NATO summits in Chicago in 2012. The protesters went to City Hall on Nov. 16, 2011, to discuss permits for their planned demonstrations. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The wish has been granted for a group of protesters wanting to demonstrate against the G-8 and NATO summits in Chicago this spring.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, at first, the city seemed poised to deny a request from protesters represented by the Coalition against NATO/G-8 War & Poverty Agenda. The group wants to set up its protest in Daley Plaza, and Daley Plaza’s management firm, MB Real Estate, also seemed inclined to deny any permits for use during the summits.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

But the Chicago Tribune reports the Public Building Commission changed its position on Thursday, and told the American Civil Liberties Union that Daley Plaza will be open for protests.

Last month, MB Real Estate denied the group’s petition and said it was “not approving any permits” for any group to use the plaza during the protests, the Tribune reported. The Public Building Commission later advised the coalition to resubmit its application.

<a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/12/14/emanuel-pushes-ordinance-to-keep-protesters-in-check/&quot; Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he plans to keep a tight rein on protesters during the summit.

He introduced ordinances that would dramatically increase possible fines for anyone resisting police and allow cooperation between state, federal and local law enforcement. The fines would be between $200 and $1000, up from $25-$500.

The measure would also allow Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to deputize officers from other law enforcement agencies, close public parks and beaches overnight (11 p.m.-6 a.m.) to keep protesters from camping out. It also would give City Hall the power to sign contracts related to event security without City Council approval.

Another measure would limit the hours of approved parades featuring amplified music or sound; they would be allowed between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

In the past, in other cities, G-8 and NATO summits have drawn protestors and participants alike from all over the world. The protests at those summits have often become disorderly and violent, prompting some to wonder whether the summits will be worth the trouble.

Some also worry the summits might be a risk for Chicago’s image, ruined by riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but rehabilitated by the clockwork precision of the 1996 DNC that Rahm Emanuel orchestrated for President Bill Clinton’s nomination for a second term.

Of course, the venue of Daley Plaza itself holds a place in the lore of the 1968 demonstrations. On April 27, 1968, about four months before the DNC, police officers clashed violently demonstrators at a rally at what was then known as Civic Center Plaza, which had followed a peace march.

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