Protesters March To Obama Campaign HQ, NATO Member Consulates
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Updated 05/17/12 – 5:37 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Dozens of anti-NATO activists focused their attention Thursday on President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and a handful of downtown consulates for NATO member nations.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports it has been a busy day around the Prudential Building, the site of Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters.
As has been the case all week, protesters touched on a variety of subjects, calling for an end to military drone strikes and oil pipelines in Alaska and Canada.
The energy in the air outside the Prudential Building seemed different Thursday than it was earlier in the week, when eight anti-war protesters were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave the building when they tried to get inside obama campaign headquarters.
It was more electric on Thursday, and protests were more passionate and – in some ways – surprising.
You expect marches and signs. You expect T-shirts, bandanas, and speeches. But you don’t always expect protestors in business attire.
New Orleans law professor Bill Quigley said, “I came up to join the protests and very excited about everybody standing up for justice.”
Asked if he felt it would be important to wear a suit, Quigley said, “Well, you never know if you’ll be in court.”
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, early Thursday afternoon, dozens of anti-war protesters unsuccessfully sought a meeting with a representative of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters. They wanted to deliver letters calling for a swift end to the war in Afghanistan, but were denied admission to the building.
No representative came down to meet them, so they proceeded with their protest against the NATO summit, the war in Afghanistan, and the use of military drones for targeted killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Obama has signed an agreement with Afghanistan to pull American troops out by the end of 2014. Details of that withdrawal will be discussed during the NATO summit.
As one protester held up a cardboard drone, a dozen demonstrators laid down on Randolph Street, each wearing the name of a drone strike victim, pretending to be struck by the cardboard drone. Each “victim” called out the name of a drone strike casualty, then asked for an end to the use of targeted drone attacks.
The people in the protest against the funding of bomb-capable drones were an eclectic bunch.
Evanston resident Barbara Lyons said, “You know what I think is good about me? Because I’m an ordinary, you know, I’m an old white lady.”
Lyons is a retired occupational therapist, who didn’t become an activist until two years ago – at age 73.
Asked if she thinks anyone is listening to a 75-year-old woman protesting outside Obama campaign headquarters, Lyons said, “I don’t know.”
But she said she has to try, that’s why she’s in Chicago ahead of the NATO summit.
Security guards and police were ready, keeping a bicycle border around the peaceful group as they later marched four abreast around the corner to carry their protest to the Canadian consulate, then up Michigan Avenue to the British Consulate and the German Consulate, carrying a pink banner reading “Stop Killer Drones.”
Some in the lunchtime crowd were listening.
“Let’s just say, this morning I wasn’t thinking about drones, and children dying. So it definitely opened my eyes,” one young woman said as she sat in a plaza along Michigan Avenue.
Organizers were happy to hear that.
Later Thursday afternoon, Occupy Chicago protesters laid down on the sidewalk outside the Prudential Building, while others poured oil — actually colored vegetable oil — from a giant plastic prop of an oil pipe, as others chanted “planet over profit, occupy the world,” to protest the building of oil pipelines in Alaska and Canada. The Canadian Consulate is also housed inside the Prudential Building.
By then, the group outside had grown to about 100 people, and dozens of police officers were on hand for the protest, which had been peaceful throughout the day.
SLIDESHOW: Protests Outside Obama HQ, Consulates