Nurses’ pre-NATO rally expected to draw thousands

May 18, 2012, 7:06 AM

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – Thousands of anti-NATO demonstrators are expected to converge at a downtown plaza Friday for a rally that promises to be a prelude to a much larger march Sunday, when world leaders begin two days of talks. Meanwhile, many office buildings will be shuttered after workers were told to stay home amid warnings about heightened security, snarled transportation and the possibility of unruly protests.

National Nurses United officials have said they expect about 2,000 nurses to attend Friday’s rally, where they will call for a “Robin Hood” tax on financial institutions’ transactions to offset cuts in social services, education and health care. But city officials have said the rally likely will draw more than 5,000 because of a performance by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, an activist who has played at many Occupy events.

The union had scheduled the rally to coincide with the G-8 economic summit, which originally was to be held in Chicago but was moved to Camp David, Md. Midwest Director Jan Rodolfo said the nurses decided to go forward with the rally in the hope that their message would reach a worldwide audience.

“What we really hope for is a large, festive, hopeful, constructive tone regarding the Robin Hood tax and that everyone in attendance feels like they’re part of a moment in history,” Rodolfo said. She said the movement is much more momentum in other countries and “we’re hoping to put it on the map” in the U.S.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense will hold training flights in downtown Chicago. Other small protests, including one targeting climate change, are planned.

Scattered protests over the past week have been relatively small, including a march through the “Magnificent Mile” shopping district that drew about 100 people Thursday.

But the much larger nurses’ rally will mark a ramp-up to Sunday’s anti-NATO march by underscoring that money spent fighting wars means less money for needs such as health care, education and other social programs, said Andy Thayer, an organizer of the anti-NATO march. His group _ Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda _ has been working to draw those connections ever since President Barack Obama moved the G-8 summit, potentially dampening enthusiasm for a Chicago demonstration.

“I think it’s really going to be big … with the nurses,” Thayer said. “That is going to be the 99 percent staking itself against the 1 percent, drawing the connections between the war abroad and the war on working people here at home.

“They are the front-line caregivers … and the nurses to their credit understand the connections between NATO, G8 and the deplorable state of health care in our country and are speaking out about it.”

Estimates of how many might show up Sunday have varied widely, from a couple thousand to more than 10,000. Busloads of demonstrators from around the country have begun arriving in Chicago, though some who had planned to come, including from the Occupy movement, have said they’re staying home or going to an area near Camp David instead.

But some activists are anticipating they’ll be joined by many more people than expected.

“Chicago has a reputation for resisting,” including a 2003 demonstration against the Iraq War that flooded downtown Chicago with 10,000 people, said one of Thursday’s protesters, Salek Khalid, a 21-year-old student at Northwestern University. “I feel comfortable saying Chicago will live up to its reputation, hopefully peacefully.”

Police and the Secret Service have taken no chances, as Obama and 50 heads of state begin arriving for the NATO summit, where leaders will discuss the war in Afghanistan and European missile defense.

Security is high on trains. Barricades and fences have been erected around landmark buildings. Streets are being closed. And world-class museums are shutting down.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Thursday that the protesters so far “have been very well behaved.” He said he did not anticipate that the tenor of Friday’s rally would be different, but that if it is, “We are going to carry through with what we said we were going to do. We’re going to facilitate the rights of these individuals while preventing criminal actions.”

___

Associated Press Writer Jason Keyser contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Chief: Officer hit woman at abortion rally, should be fired

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The chief of police in Rhode Island’s capital has recommended that a city officer charged with assaulting a woman during an abortion-rights protest should lose his job. Patrolman Jeann Lugo’s “disturbing, egregious, assaultive and unprofessional behavior while off duty, has brought discredit to your name and has tarnished the proud reputation […]
9 hours ago
Law enforcement personnel work outside at the Orlando Museum of Art Orlando, Fla., Friday, June 24,...
Associated Press

CEO and Florida museum part ways following Basquiat raid

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Museum of Art has parted ways with its CEO in the days after the FBI raided the Florida museum and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat that are the subjects of an investigation into possible wire fraud and conspiracy. The museum’s board of trustees […]
9 hours ago
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How was Turkey’s veto of Nordic NATO bid avoided?

ISTANBUL (AP) — When the leaders of Finland, Sweden and Turkey met with NATO’s chief Tuesday, the potential for progress was hard to predict. Some remained pessimistic the meeting would lessen Turkey’s objections to the Nordic pair’s historic request to join NATO. The government in Ankara had indicated for weeks that as an existing member […]
9 hours ago
Artist Elaine Wilson works on a painting of the Supreme Court, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Washing...
Associated Press

Justices say vet who lost job as Texas trooper can sue state

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a former state trooper to sue Texas over his claim that he was forced out of his job when he returned from Army service in Iraq. The justices ruled for Army veteran Le Roy Torres under a federal law that was enacted in 1994 in the […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Archbishop Gregory Aymond conducts the procession to lead a live streamed Easter Mass in St....
Associated Press

FBI opens sweeping probe of clergy sex abuse in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades, a rare federal foray into such cases looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them, officials and others familiar with the inquiry told The Associated […]
9 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Nurses’ pre-NATO rally expected to draw thousands