The leaders of Nato countries are meeting in Chicago this week. At the top of their agenda: how to wind down the war in Afghanistan. But over the weekend, thousands of people have been protesting against the war. And while the huge demonstrations have been largely peaceful, clashes between marchers and police have led to more than a dozen injuries and at least 45 arrests so far.
Black masks, white-face
Everyone from babies to circus clowns to masked black-clad anarchists made an appearance on Sunday. The march was sponsored by the Coalition Against Nato-G8, which calls for an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. Occupy Chicago members dressed as clowns to show the “absurdity” of spending billions on war while needs go unmet at home. More than three dozen veterans in military fatigues declared their opposition to the war and threw their service medals on the ground.
Hundreds of police in riot gear kept the marchers away from the Nato summit itself, where President Barack Obama and other leaders met at the McCormick Place convention centre. At one point, a large group of protesters refused to disperse after the march and some tried to break through a police barricade. Police used their clubs and some protesters threw plastic bottles. One protester was injured by a police van. A video from the hacktivist group Anonymous claims to have crashed the Chicago Police Department website for a few hours last night.
A late-night raid on a Chicago apartment earlier in the week led to several arrests on charges of planning to make firebombs. The National Lawyers Guild claims police have repeatedly harassed activists without cause.
More to come
Occupy Chicago is calling for a march today to the headquarters of the Boeing Corporation and an attempt to shut it down. The group cites Boeing's role as a defense contractor, as well as its history of labor conflict and pollution at many factories. Boeing has told its 500 employees in Chicago to work from home today.
Read more: An overview of criticism of the Afghanistan war at Historycommons.org