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20 May, 2012 19:49

NATO protesters clash with Chicago police

Protesters have clashed with police as thousands of activists took part in an anti-NATO demonstration in Chicago, where the military bloc’s summit kicked off on Sunday. At least 60 people have been arrested.

The clashes occurred as the demonstrators were trying to push their way through a police line to the site of the meeting. Protesters threw plastic bottles and paint balloons at police which used batons against them. At least 12 people were injured. Prior to the incident, the march was largely peaceful.Police estimated the crowd on Sunday at 2,500 to 3,000, though it appeared that much more turned out in the streets of the city to voice their opposition to NATO’s costly and deadly wars. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans also took part in the march throwing their medals towards the convention center where the delegates are meeting. They said the medals they were given do not represent the wars they were fighting.Many of the demonstrators who joined the march on Saturday are OWS activists who are outraged with income inequality in the US.

This was a really important demonstration that focused on “NATO criminal war machine,” Sara Flounders from the International Action Center told RT. People attending the rally were united in their “opposition to endless wars” and demanded “that the social needs here at home be provided for.”Flounders stressed that NATO feels enormously threatened by the fact that right in the United States there is a denunciation of NATO, of its wars and a demand that the troops be brought home from Afghanistan.This is why it has spent a lot time saturating the media with “wild, completely inaccurate, fabricated stories about how the demonstrators are violent,” she noted. “We really have to turn that around and say that it is NATO on a world scale that is responsible for violence.”

Massive anti-NATO rallies also took place on Friday and Saturday with thousands walking through downtown Chicago. Saturday’s demonstration was marred by clashes with police and further arrests. Protest organizers have pledged their numbers will swell over the next two days.