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CHICAGO (CBS) — Those who are planning protests around the NATO summit are staying on message, and avoiding questions about the potential for violence to erupt.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, protest organizers gathered Tuesday in front of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. King Dr., where the U.S. NATO delegation will be staying.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
“The U.S. delegation, in the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” said protester organizer Andy Thayer.
He argued that the violence to be concerned about is actually committed by NATO.
“We’re going to be focusing on the violence of NATO – a violence which far surpasses any violence in any protest that this country has ever seen,” he said.
Thayer did not want to talk about the potential for violence in the streets during the summit.
“I think any discussion of violence that focuses on what’s happening here in Chicago so totally misses the boat,” Thayer told reporters. “I’d like you guys to start putting out statistics such as the record number of Afghans who lost their lives in America’s war – the longest-ever war – last year.”
He also cautioned against labeling anarchists as dangerous people.
“I happen to know a number of anarchists that I consider good friends, so let’s start right here by stopping the demonization of particular political persuasions,” Thayer said. “But I’d also say that I know, at least among my anarchist friends, the message that, ‘Please respect the vets, and they’re leading our march.’”
But Thayer did concede: “Yes, there will be some conveniences. There may even be some violence.”
All the organizers say they are committed to nonviolence.