Mar 08 2012
While the nation was focused on Super Tuesday elections, the White House Press Secretary made an understated announcement on Monday that the May G8 summit would be moved from Chicago to Camp David. White House National Security Spokesman Tommy Vector later called the mountain retreat in Maryland more “intimate,” and a better fit for the needs of the annual meeting of leaders of the countries with the world’s 8 largest economies. The original plan had been for Chicago to host the G8 summit on May 18th and 19th and then the NATO summit on the 20th and 21st. Tommy Vector said the President was not splitting the conference locations to avoid planned mass protests, but activists doubt the claim. The four days of international meetings between world and military superpowers drew invitations for protests from US activists such as Bill Ayers and groups such as the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism. Rahm Emmanuel, Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff to President Obama, began planning for the G8 and NATO protests last year. In January, after some negotiation, the Chicago City Council passed new restrictive laws on protesting in the city. FireDogLake.com reports these include increased fines and jail time for failing to get a parade permit, requiring protest marches to be covered by insurance for up to $1million in damages, and allowing law enforcement to deputize nearly anyone, from DEA agents to private security guards. However, Emmanuel’s new rules did not dampen plans for protest and it appears the G8 location change has not either. Chicago activist Andy Thayer, who is working with a coalition of groups in preparation for the May summits told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “Guess what? The protests are going to happen anyway.” There is also a possibility that activists will follow the G8 to Maryland.
GUEST: Rachel Perotta, member of the Occupy Chicago Press Committee
Visit www.occupychi.org for more information.