Chicago Busts 18 in NATO Protests

Police say marches largely peaceful, but expect bigger turnout today
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2012 7:04 AM CDT
Chicago Busts 18 in NATO Protests
An anti-NATO protestor commandeers a police barricade during a march yesterday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Hours of protest marches by up to 1,000 anti-NATO demonstrators and clashes with police in Chicago's Loop led to about 18 arrests last night, but no serious damage or injuries, reports the AP. Protesters tested police barriers as they tried to make their way north of the Chicago River to the upscale downtown area where most of the 60 NATO heads of state and VIPs are staying. But the demonstrators were unable to pass by the authorities and eventually the marches petered out, with most dispersing by 11pm, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"If anything else happens, the plan is to go in and get the people who create the violent acts, take them out of the crowd, and arrest them," said the Chicago police superintendent. "We're not going to charge the crowd wholesale—that's the bottom line." Some protesters shouted against the arrest of three men yesterday on terror charges, but overall most demonstrators were peaceful. Still, protesters were gearing up for a much larger showing today. "I'm pretty impressed with what we did, but I'm not looking forward to waking up and doing it again tomorrow," said one protester. "But when I wake up tomorrow I think I'll feel differently." (Read more Chicago stories.)

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