Reporter's View: An Inside Look at the Protests


(Photos by Bartosz Brzezinski) 

NATO logoEditor's note: The Red Line Project multimedia journalist Bartosz Brzezinski spent more than 12 hours Sunday documenting the NATO protest parade, the protesters' confrontation with police outside McCormick Place, and the impromptu marches that lasted well into the night. View his full slideshow

By Bartosz Brzezinski
The Red Line Project

Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shortly after the Iraq war veterans medal-return ceremony, with majority of demonstrators already gone, the Chicago Police could be overhead discussing:

"The Black Bloc is on the move. They are our target," some officers discussed at the rally near Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue, just outside the NATO summits at McCormick Place.

A few minutes later, a small group of activists tried to scale the barricades separating the protest from McCormick, but the riot police, now supported by a squadron of newly arrived state police, blocked them off. About 15 to 20 people were arrested.

At one point, the police put on gas masks but never deployed tear gas.

For the next couple of hours, police cordoned the protesters and created man-made barricades around them. A few more arrests were made but the demonstrations began to wind down.

Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski

A protester blocks a security forces vehicle and flips the driver the bird on South State Street,
in front of DePaul University's Loop campus. (Photo by Bartosz Brzezinski)

At around 7 p.m., a group of protesters marched to the south of McCormick Place, making it as close as the front gates of the convention center. No arrests were made, as their destination was the general assembly taking place well to the north at Michigan Avenue and Columbus, at the horse statue that's become a gathering place for Occupy Chicago protestors.

The night ended with hundreds of demonstrators marching through the streets of downtown and occupying Michigan Avenue in front of The Art Institute of Chicago, where President  Obama was reportedly having dinner with his fellow dignitaries.

Then it started to rain.

It did little to damper mood of the protestors, who sang songs and made plans for Monday.

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