Reporting Mike Krauser
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The group planning to protest during the upcoming NATO Summit is giving the federal government until 5 p.m. Monday to release its plans for a security perimeter at McCormick Place, or face legal action.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, protest leader Andy Thayer believes the government is intentionally stalling to diminish the impact of the protesters by keeping the protesters away.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
“The internationally-accepted standards for the exercise of what we call here in the United States the First Amendment, is for people to get within sight and sound of the object of their protest,” Thayer said. “This is the same thing that the United States lectured Eastern European countries about, so what’s good enough for Warsaw or Prague should be good enough here for Chicago.”
Protesters launched a similar challenge for the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when the federal government planned to set up a wide security measure around the United Center. The protesters won a lawsuit, but the ruling came a month after the convention was over.
Protesters are looking to avoid a repeat of that scenario. Thayer declined to offer specifics about what his group will do Monday if the city doesn’t come through in announcing its plans.
Earlier this month, protesters and the City of Chicago reached a deal on the protest march route. While the protesters had asked to gather at Daley Plaza and march through the middle of the Loop to McCormick Place, they have since agreed to the city’s plan, and the march will start near the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park.
The city said a protest through the Loop would be too much of a burden on city resources while also providing security for NATO delegates who will be arriving for the summit and traveling from downtown hotels to McCormick Place.
While the protesters agreed to the city’s suggested march route, they have been complaining all month that the city never promised to help the protesters fight any move by the feds to establish security restrictions that would stop the protesters from being at McCormick Place.