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Updated 05/08/12 – 9:05 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Dress down for the NATO protests if you work downtown?
Both protesters and a security consultant for the NATO summit are laughing off suggestions that downtown office workers dress casually to avoid becoming targets of protesters.
The idea behind the suggestion is to blend in, and not dress in standard business attire.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported that some tenants in buildings along Wacker Drive were being told to lose the suits.
“It’s just one thing that’s been thrown out there as an option,” Crain’s reporter Ryan Ori told WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
The casual days would be on May 18 and 21 – the Friday before and the Monday of the NATO summit.
The Occupy Chicago movement says it’s “preposterous” to suggest that people who work downtown should dress in casual clothing to avoid being targeted by protesters.
And Arnette Heintze, a private security consultant to the NATO Host Committee, said those who make such suggestions are fear mongers.
“It won’t happen,” said Heintze, who is equally convinced that most people who work downtown will go about business as usual on May 21, the Monday of the summit.
Heintze told a group of business representatives Tuesday night – at the last of the NATO Host Committee’s pre-summit briefings – that there is a lot of “misinformation” making the rounds.
One person said he’d heard a rumor that “attacks against banks” would begin a week before the summit, and others spoke of hearing suggestions that downtown businesses use a casual “dress code” during the summit to avoid being targeted by protest groups.
Occupy Chicago’s Rachael Perrotta echoed Heintze, telling WBBM Newsradio such memos and rumors are nothing but “classic fear mongering.”
She said the thousands of people expected here to protest are not protesting NATO, not people.
“We’re not here to disrupt ordinary Chicagoans’ lives,” she said. “We’re not here to target people.”
Perrotta said the protesters are committed to non-violence, adding, “I think that all threats to safety during the summits are going to come from the Chicago Police Department and the hired goons that Mayor one-percent has rounded up to patrol the streets of Chicago.”
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Chicago has been a “national model” on how to deal with large-scale protests peacefully, and without the degree of rancor seen elsewhere.
Perrotta notes that the Occupy protestors have been mingling with downtown office workers in business attire for months and “there has never been even a hint of violence.”
She said some have even joined their movement.
There are several protests planned leading up to and during the summit, but the biggest protest is on Sunday. It starts in Grant Park and heads south toward McCormick Place.
Workers were also told to avoid wearing clothing that shows corporate logos–which would potentially make them stand out.