Press conference announcing NATO summit protest moved to May 20 (Photo: Nerissa Allegretti)
Chicago, IL – A press conference was held here today, March 15, to announce a change of plans for anti NATO/G8 marchers.
Joe Iosbaker of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) stated, “We have always said we would march on the opening day of the summits. Last week it was announced that the G8 wouldn’t meet in Chicago because of the threat of mass protest. However, NATO will still meet in Chicago, and therefore, we are moving our protest to Sunday, May 20, the opening day of the NATO summit.”
The press conference included Mary Dean of Voices for Creative Non Violence, recently returned from Afghanistan. A solemn mood fell over the crowd as Dean recalled the massacre this week of 16 family members by a U.S. soldier. She called on everyone to march for an immediate end to the U.S. and NATO occupation.
Jan Rodolfo of National Nurses United said that they would join CANG8 on May 20, but also would rally on May 18 to call for a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions.
Occupy Chicago and Veterans for Peace spoke, as did a spokesperson for a delegation of human rights defenders and church leaders from the Philippines. Rev. Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church revealed that US troops are involved in military exercises, and that the government of Benigno Aquino III is continuing human rights violations, including torture, disappearances and murder of faith based activists for social justice.
Andy Thayer of CANG8 called on the City of Chicago to complete today the permit process for May 20, as required by their guidelines. “We are the only currently permitted march going to the doorstep of the NATO summit,” explained Thayer.
Iosbaker told the crowd, “Friday you’ll see a full page ad in the Chicago Sun Times defending the right to protest against the NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda.” The ad is sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition, and Iosbaker said, “It features over 500 signers including Noam Chomsky and numerous peace activists from around the world.” While the city has promised permits for the rallies and marches sponsored by CANG8 on the new date, organizers have also been told that the Secret Service could revoke the permits. The ad raises demands on Emanuel, the Chicago Police and the Obama administration’s Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security, under whom the Secret Service is located, to respect the First Amendment rights of protesters.
“And we are expecting a European delegation of lawyers and even a member of the European Parliament who will be here to observe the protests in May and ensure that our civil liberties are respected by the Chicago Police,” announced Iosbaker.