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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicagoans will have just over two weeks notice of what to expect during next month’s NATO summit here.
The U.S. Secret Service says it’ll reveal next week exactly what areas residents will have to avoid.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, the feds are being pretty circumspect, and it’s ruffling some feathers.
For one, officials told demonstrators where they could be, then refused to tell the public. Then they left the host committee and city officials shaking their heads when word leaked out about an alleged full dress–and armed–rehearsal next week.
“A lot of us were surprised to read that,” said host committee chair Lori Healey. “Obviously the federal government doesn’t consult with the city when they do this. Everybody was unaware of this.”
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The Federal Protective Service, according to the Sun-Times, was set to launch Operation Red Zone, complete with armed officers, around federal buildings in Chicago beginning May 1.
However, a source with knowledge of security planning tells CBS 2, this will not happen, at least not next week.
Healey appeared with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and NATO dignitaries at a kickoff concert this morning.
It was dubbed Kelly to Kabul. Via the Internet, students at Kelly High School and a music academy in Afghanistan serenaded and spoke to each other, with Mayor Emanuel and NATO’s assistant secretary general looking on.
“Certainly 10 years ago this would have been impossible,” said NATO Ambassador Kolinda Grabar. “So what we saw today, I won’t say it was a miracle, but it was a product of good hard work of so many people, of our allied troops, but also Afghans themselves.”
Grabar hopes that will come out at the summit, which will deal in part with the timetable for turning over Afghan security to local leaders.
But it was security in Chicago that dominated discussion here. Healey also revealed that the feds would finally release their plans for security zones during the summit next week.
Questions about getting around in Chicago that weekend, played right into the hands of City Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, who was debuting new racks on the Red Line today.
“I use my bike all the time, and I think it would be a great way to get around,” he said. “Keep in mind also that the mayor wants business as usual and that’s the plan for the city, so sure there will be closures but the city will be operating.”
And that’s only thing most Chicagoans were worried about: How it’ll impact their lives.
Today’s Kelly to Kabul concert was the first in a series of events, including kite flying contests, soccer tournaments and international menus at restaurants to boost interest in summit activities, not just security.