City Council Approves Security Plan For NATO/G8 Protests

UPDATED 01/18/12 6:14 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council cast an overwhelming vote on Wednesday to approve tighter rules on parades and protests ahead of the joint NATO and G8 summits in May.

But WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports protest organizers remained opposed to the end and nearly drowned out the roll call vote on the security measures proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Chicago Police officials expect some 10,000 demonstrators when the summits are held.

On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel eliminated earlier proposals that would have increased fines on those demonstrators for resisting arrest or obstructing a police officer. He had already agreed to remove the measure protesters found most objectionable – significantly higher fines for resisting arrest. City Hall also modified the mayor’s proposals to tighten restrictions on parades and public demonstrations.

But the changes from Emanuel’s office did not satisfy either protesters or all the aldermen who leaned the other way and worried about keeping the peace during summits which have prompted violent demonstrations in other cities.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, protesters jammed the hallway outside council chambers during Wednesday’s council meeting, clamoring for the few seats available inside.

Despite the angry shouts of protesters, the roll call continued, as several protestors were removed, leading the chanting until the vote was final.

In the end, the full City Council approved the security measures in a pair of votes of 45-4 and 41-5.

Among the security measures, aldermen approved an ordinance extending curfews on parks and beaches; granting the mayor emergency no-bid purchasing power for security-related goods and services; and allowing Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to deputize officers from other departments.

Among those voting “no” was Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), whose ward includes McCormick Place, the virtual ground zero for summit meetings and protests when the summits are held from May 19 to May 21.

“Quite frankly, on May 17, people ought to leave. If you’re in the perimeter, find other ways. I’m hearing it from everybody left and right in the ward that they’re saying they’re gonna leave town starting probably Wednesday or Thursday (before the summits) and come back on the Tuesday,” Fioretti said. “They’re gonna take an extended stay vacation that weekend.”

Council members had been briefed by top police brass on preparations for the summits, estimating about 10,000 protesters for the summits.

But Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields disagreed with that estimate.

“That’s the lowest number I’ve heard yet. I’m hearing from different people that have gone through the training program that have expected 40,000 people to come in,” Shields said.

Deputy Police Supt. Debra Kirby said “10,000 is a number that I’ve seen associated with the last two (similar) events; Toronto and Pittsburgh. … We really won’t know for sure until we’re very close to that event and what we’re planning for right now is to be ready for every eventuality.”

Protest organizers suggested there would be resistance if the City Council approved the security measures pushed by the mayor.

Organizer Andy Thayer said Tuesday if the council approves what he calls rights infringing measures, then “all bets are off” – suggesting more intense protests.

McCarthy shrugged off Thayer’s comment.

“OK, well, that’s what Mr. Thayer said. I mean, I’m not going to even comment on it,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “I’m not willing to bet on anything that’s going to happen. What’s going to happen is that we are going to provide a safe environment to the best of our ability.”

Jeff Frank of the National Lawyers’ Guild said that there are other onerous requirements, particularly on carrying signs.

“One part of this new ordinance is that every sign has to be described in particularity on the permit,” he said.

But Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone said Frank’s impression is not correct. The requirement only applies to very large signs.

“The reason for requesting people to, when at all possible, to disclose when signage would have to be larger than one person would carry, is to ensure that the city is able to provide the proper city services,” Boone said.

  • E M R L

    When our Mayor stated he wanted to host these two events he was NOT thinking about you the citizens or anybody else but his POLITICAL image and carrier, Hosting the G-8 and NATO summits are hudge political events geared for the carrier politican when running for higher office, their claim I have the experience! Without thinking of the consenquences the Mayor has thrust this city into the spotlight with LITTLE to NO resources and money to handle and control the situtation (He’s says the cities broke all the time). The Police Department is already down almost 5000 officers with NO plans to hire any in the near or forseeable future. How can the suburbs help? NOT likely they have to take care of their own towns first and already are laying off Policemen or no money. So who is going to help? The city claims it’s going to cost 45 to 65 million to host these events and will be paid for by private donations! In a cats eye it’ll cost 45 to 65 more like 100 to 125 million, just look on you tube at G-8 and NATO’s previous summit sites all out of control riots and you can see the damage. Rahm should be accountable for all the damage and cost personally HIS IDEA HIS COST! Oh wait his idea is to SUSPEND YOUR CIVIL LIBERTIES, double all fines and bail amounts holding people for longer periods of time than the laws allow! This is NOT your personal fifedom RAHM you answer to the citizens of Chicago and I bet 9 out of 10 will say host the summit somewhere else and well foot your travel expenses for the trip!

    • CFLC

      Well said EMRL. After all the years of Chicago dodging bullets, This NATO/G8 bullet could be the one that does in the City, the democrats, Chicago democrats and Obama. You can only lie to the citizens for so long. The Daleys have gotten away with it for years. This will not be the case for the new administration. Good luck Chicago, luck is what you will need.

  • Business Owner

    The mayor is throwing business owners to the wolves by backing down from the protesters. Apparently, he wants to change Chicago’s image after the ’68 convention by sacraficing your business. The CPD will have choke-chains on and the media will downplay everything. You must protect your own business. Think of the protesters as out of control bears. How would you put down an out of control bear if you had the chance to plan for it? That’s how you deal with protesters. If you need to triple or quadruple your security, then do it and make sure that they know to deal with out of control protesters severly.

    • Diana

      This is something we’ve been worried about with the NATO/G8 summits. Chicago is a great city and whatever happens during this time will either elevate us worldwide, or be to our downfall across the globe.
      As another business owner, I hesitate. Will there be enough protection through the authorities or will it be on us?
      Our business is installing window security/safety film. It is an option for that type of destruction. It can withstand up to 800 pounds of force and yet the glass won’t break. There are demonstrations online. You can Google video safety security film and find out more. It’s definitely worth considering and I question as to whether some of the major insurers might assist or reduce cost to insure if additional safety measures are taken.
      I would hope additional personnel are on the streets x10 while the summits are on. Judging from previous rioting and opposition in other cities, it’s imperative.
      It’s a lot for a business to consider: from alternating employees, hours open, hiring private security inside/outside the door, etc, to just keeping employees and customers safe overall.
      If anyone wants more info on safety security film for commercial applications, we are available for that part. We’ve done this for over 25 years in Chicago and stand behind our product and workmanship.
      It’s Vuk’s East Side Window Tinting.
      It can be applied to suvs, etc also.

  • Zatso

    Told you 6 months ago!

    Now the people are showing some common sense.

    You won’t be able to hide these RIOTS.

    Technology has improved since ’68.

    rahm is in it over his little bloated head.


    • Diana


      Let’s pray for the best!

  • Zatso


    Not enough money to cover FLASH MOB mobility.

    The CPD can’t mobilize quick enough for “organized” hooligans.

    Mob action mentality will swell to a level that CHICAGO will achieve global “POSTER” status.


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    […] their feet and loudly chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” after the council overwhelmingly voted for two ordinances Wednesday related to police powers and protest restrictions in advance of the […]

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