UPDATED 05/15/12 – 4:32 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The NATO delegates haven’t arrived in Chicago for the weekend’s summit yet, but the protesters have already been busy for two days, and at least 12 protesters have been arrested in that time.
CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports, five days ahead of the summit, a sit-in during an immigration rights protest led to four arrests on Tuesday. That came one day after eight protesters were arrested for trespassing at the building where President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters are located, during an anti-war protest.
Each day leading up to the NATO summit, protestors have planned rallies and marches focusing on different topics. On Tuesday, activists were focusing on immigration policy and deportation.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the protesters began their march at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Church, at 3442 W. 26th St. in the Little Village neighborhood. They then marched to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in the South Loop, where the local immigration court is located.
Arm-in-arm, protestors attempted to block anyone coming or going from the ICE building. Their message was simple.
“Treating human lives as commodities, and not as human lives, is destructive and is a bad way about going about business,” said Dan Massoglia, a first-year law student.
He said Tuesday’s message was about taking a stand for illegal immigrants who’ve been deported – for what protesters claim is no reason.
“There are mass numbers of people being deported for supposedly being illegal, because they do not have documentation,” Massoglia said. “It highlights a disrespect for human life that is indicative of everything that NATO stands for.”
One of the organizers for Tuesday’s immigration protest was Jose Herrera, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has been in the U.S. for 20 years. He now faces deportation proceedings.
“The only thing that I’m able to do right now is because I have a U.S. citizen son – he’s 11 now. I need to show the court that it will cause hardship to my son,” Herrera told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “Our immigrant families are being torn apart by the immigration system.”
Protesters complain that there has been little movement in Congress to change immigration laws.
Some lawmakers want to deport not only illegal immigrants, but also their U.S.-born children.
Tuesday’s immigration rights rally started small and grew throughout the day. As more protestors showed up, so did more police – both on foot, and on bikes.
At one point, police pushed protestors back from the building entrance, and all but four obeyed. Those four were arrested.
Protestors briefly blocked traffic, before police moved them along.
An anti-police brutality rally was scheduled for Tuesday night. Those protesters reportedly do not have permits for their rally.
Occupy Chicago representatives said Wednesday’s events will focus on foreclosures.