NATO Summit: Protesters Demonstrate at Boeing, Address Violence from Sunday's Protest

Photo by Lauren Klopmeyer

Protesters stage a "die-in" in front of Boeing's
Chicago headquarters on Monday. (Photo by Lauren Klopmeyer)

NATO logoBy Lauren Klopmeyer
The Red Line Project

Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012

The second day of the NATO summit brought an organized protest at Boeing's Chicago headquarters that later turned into a march through the Loop, causing sporadic road closures and attracting many spectators out of their offices and onto the sidewalks.

The peaceful crowd carried “NO NATO” and “FOOD NOT BOMBS” banners and voiced anti-Obama chants as they made their way from the Boeing headquarters on the west bank of the Chciago River at Washington to the Obama campaign headquarters at Prudential Plaza.

The protest in front of Boeing gathered around 11 a.m. where the group arrived and performed a version of a sit-in, dubbed a “die-in.” A protestor explained this act as a demonstration practiced to show the use of Boeing manufacturing to bomb civilians in war-zones.

After flying paper planes and conducting chants directed at the company for about an hour, the group began to march east on Washington flanked by the media and Chicago policemen.

The 200 participants followed people carrying a large banner with the words “SHUTDOWN THE WAR MACHINE.”

Jackson Kusiak, a student from Oberlin College was among the protesters.  He explained the reasoning behind protesting Boeing.

“If we are going to ensure the protection of people around the world, first of all we need to radically alter the way NATO operates,” he said. “The way that companies like Boeing, the kind of machines they’re creating, they need to be part of this system where they’re paying taxes.”

Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski
Demonstrators at Obama's campaign headquarters
in the Prudential Plaza. (Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski)

Many people came out of their offices to line the streets and take pictures and record video of the protesters as they marched through the Loop, prompting them to start chanting, “Off the sidewalks and into the streets”.

As they marched they stopped at various intersections to sit. During one of the breaks the group remained silent for five minutes. 

Various protestors took to the megaphone to rally the group while they sat in front of the Prudential Building.

Dylan Hayworth-Weste, a Pilsen resident and member of Occupy Barrio, was one of the speakers. The issues he addressed were unrelated to Boeing but rather centered on the problems with undocumented immigrants. He has been part of the Occupy movement since its start in Chicago in September.

He’s been pleased with their groups’ actions over the course of the weekend, but felt that the violence demonstrated by police was out of place.

Hayworth-Weste witnessed the protest that took a violent turn yesterday near McCormick Place at Michigan Avenue and 18th Street. The clash between police and demonstrators was at the forefront of conversations at yesterday’s protest.

“We’ve done nothing violent, they’ve done everything violent. They’ve treated us like animals,” he said.

In the gathering outside of Obama’s headquarters, Sarah Geosomino of the National Lawyers Guild addressed the media about Sunday’s protest and violence. 

“We have almost 60 accounts of police brutality … most of these [were] baton strikes," she said. "Police indiscriminately unleashed violence against people at the front of the march -- particularly using batons against people.

“We have many counts of very serious injuries including broken bones, broken collarbones, broken nose, broken arm, including people who had to be treated for head injuries, which resulted in a number of stitches.”

The National Lawyers Guild provides legal support to protestors.

Kelly Hayes, a representative from Occupy Rogers Park, was an on-street medic at Sunday night’s protest and also addressed the crowd and media on Monday. She spoke of lack of assistance from Chicago Police and ambulances with hurt protesters, claiming the streets that ambulances needed to get down were not opened up by Chicago Police.

“The police blocked off the street medic triage area," she said. "The medics were crying out for assistance. They were preventing that assistance from getting through.

“We called 9-1-1, we begged for ambulances. The police had control of the streets that would’ve allow those ambulances to get to us. They refused.”

Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski

Protesters stop at State Street and Monroe Avenue
for a lesson on NATO. (Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski)

 Superintendent of Chicago Police Garry McCarthy was present throughout Monday’s march. He was giving orders and directing policemen who patrolled the street and formed barriers using bicycles.

The number of protesters fluctuated throughout the day; however, policemen often outnumbered the amount of participants.

Monday’s march lasted into the evening until eventually coming to an end around 10:30 p.m., according to the NBC Chicago website. 

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