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#noNATO | Occupied Stories - Part 3

Tag Archive | "#noNATO"

Video: Natalie Solidarity on Incidents with Police at NATO #M19 Protests


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you were in Chicago tell us what you saw. Submit your story. This video originally appeared on Diatribe Media.

Activist and writer Natalie Solidarity spent much of her time on the front lines of the protests against the NATO summit in Chicago all weekend. On Saturday [May19], at an anti-capitalist march, police attacked protesters with clubs after stopping the march on State Street and Washington. Later in the evening, a police van drove through the crowd, striking at least one demonstrator and sending him to the hospital. Natalie recaps the events in this video.

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The Accidental Medic: A Short Narrative From The NATO Protests


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you were in Chicago tell us what you saw. Submit your story.

Chicago, IL- I’m sharing this story in order to give credit where credit is due, and to express my love and appreciation for a fellow Occupier, who always goes above and beyond the call.

On Sunday, my friend, and fellow Occupier, Matt, bravely stood up to a white shirt, to negotiate my entrance into an alley where protesters were seriously injured.

Most of our friends were trapped inside a massive kettle, and the police were continuing to push most of us back.  A handful of injured protesters had been helped into a triage area by street medics, at the mouth of an alleyway.  The police were in head busting mode, and just talking to them felt dangerous.

There were too few medics in the triage area, and the police had just barricaded the alley. The medics inside were crying out for more assistance. I tried to talk my way in, but the police, including the white shirts, would not listen.

Matt appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and approached one of the white shirts, to ask that I be allowed inside.  The exchange was obviously quite contentious.  I didn’t hear everything that was said, but the white shirt eventually barked, “Okay, just her,” and ordered the blue shirts move the barricade. I looked back at my friends, and with mutual worry in our eyes, we parted ways, and I darted forward.

In that alley, we had three bloody head injuries, and one blunt force trauma injury to the chest. The police would not let EMS anywhere near us. We tried calling 911 dispatch, but to no avail. The police had total control of the next street over, so there was absolutely no excuse for their actions. We were told we had to move these people.

Patients with head injuries, for the record, should not be moved in this way. One man began to vomit the moment he stood up. We were told to take them all the way to State Street. One of the out of town medics gave me a street medic patch to put on, as I had no red tape on, at the time. I have various certifications, but I hadn’t planned on acting as a medic that day.  Ultimately, I had little choice, as the police had kettled numerous medics, and restricted the movements of others. They had injured peaceful protesters, and then kept medical assistance at bay.

I have witnessed police brutality, and general indifference to suffering, in the past, but I must admit that this experience got under my skin in a way that others have not.  It’s actually very hard to put into words.  The memory of it feels like a wound that will probably take some time to heal.  I suppose I am fortunate.  The bruises I suffered that day are quite minor, compared to some.

I suppose I am also fortunate, as are we all, that people like Matt are part of this struggle.  Occupiers like him make this fight possible, and remind me that no matter what happens, we still have each other.

To anyone who is still naive enough to believe that the police are our potential allies… I can’t begin to tell you how wrong you are.

To Matt… thank you for being brave, and for being strong, and for looking out for your fellow protesters. You are an inspiration, and I’m proud to stand alongside you.

-Kelly Hayes-

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Against NATO: Blood and Solidarity


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you were in Chicago tell us what you saw. Submit your story.

Chicago, IL-When I woke up on Friday morning [May 18] I had no idea that I would fly to Chicago the next day to protest the NATO summit; but spontaneous actions are often the most inspiring kind.

My girlfriend Nicole asked me if I wanted to go and after watching some live streams from the various marches in progress I thought: why not? When we told Rachel, a comrade in Chicago that works on the Occupied Stories project with us, that we were coming she sent out a tweet asking for any available couches, and less than twenty four hours after we decided to go to #noNATO, we were picked up at the airport. Theresa was an old friend that Rachael hadn’t seen in years—and we had never even physically met Rachael—but she wanted to support the movement any way that she could. Theresa explained to us on the drive to her house on the north-side of Chicago that “I can’t be out in the streets because I so badly need to keep my job. My husband had a heart transplant thirteen years ago and had an accident just a few months back. He is right now in the hospital re-learning how to walk, so if I lose my insurance it would be devastating.”

I flew a thousand miles to be on the front-lines and show opposition to the NATO war machine, a violent military organization that drains tremendous amounts of energy and money from our government. Theresa is on the front-lines every day, living in a world where there is always money to train soldiers and build better bombs but never enough to care for ourselves when we fall ill.

After a huge rally and march down toward the NATO meetings, Nicole and I split off with Harrison, another New Yorker working on the Occupied Stories project, for some much-needed food and drink. We lost the group and missed the big clash between the black bloc and riot police. We started walking south toward NATO and where we heard the remaining protesters were being kettled. We couldn’t get anywhere close. Rows of riot police blocked every street and looking beyond them all we could see were flashing lights and more police in heavy combat gear.

We walked north, back toward the city center, not sure what we should do. We met another small group wandering around and joined them. The ten of us decided that it would be useless to try to join the group behind the police lines, and when we heard that some NATO delegates were meeting at the Art Institute we made that our destination. There were small groups of protesters scattered around and we grew quickly. When we were two dozen, we began to chant and sing; it started to feel like a protest and we grew faster. There were about 50 of us when we decided to take the street. The spontaneity of our protest created an incredible energy that would be difficult to plan. Once we were in the street, filling out all three lanes on our side and chanting loudly, we almost literally doubled in size with each minute. We had live streamers now and created enough noise to draw people from all directions.  A block after we took the street, we spotted another large group of occupiers coming toward us on the sidewalk. They took the street when they saw us and we ran toward each other and met at an intersection in between with wild excitement. The sound of our voices yelling “Whose streets? Our Streets!” never rang as true as that moment as it echoed off the buildings and blended with the horns of passing drivers holding out their hands for high fives.

We tuned left and ran down the street and became a magnet for every protester milling around downtown. Within a few minutes there were well over a thousand people; then two; then three. For a while, it felt like the city was ours. I’ve never been a part of a march that grew so quickly, or had as much raw visceral energy that was devoid of anger. Harrison and I caught eyes and smiled. “This is fucking amazing. This is the best march I’ve ever been on,” he said, and we slapped hands and brought them to each other’s chest.

The scene outside the Art Institute

Police were assembling and began to set up blockades in front of us. Some we were able to run through and others forced us to make abrupt turns, but there were no arrests or major physical clashes. When we reached the Art Institute, the front of the march, unaware that we were at our destination, kept going. A few people toward the back were able to mic check that NATO delegates were inside and while the bulk of the march went on, about two hundred people sat down in the street. Harrison was with the group that kept marching; Nicole and I stayed at the Art Institute. Eventually the march got word that we were locked down in the street in front of a meeting of NATO delegates, demanding an audience with them, and they came back to join us; but Harrison wasn’t there.

An organizer from Occupy Chicago mic checked that they were receiving reports that a protester had been killed by police and our spirit immediately changed. The level of tension between us and the hundreds of riot police that had assembled and stood in rows in front of the Art Institute skyrocketed. Everyone tried to reach out via their phones to confirm or deny the report, but all the joy had left. While this was going on, I received a message from Harrison. He had been attacked and beaten by police a few blocks away. Three blows from a police baton on the back of his head sent blood down his neck and sent him to the hospital for five staples to close the wound.

A few minutes later we all learned together that the reported death was rumor, and I learned from a new message on my phone that Harrison would be okay.  Since I’ve joined the occupy movement many months ago, there have been moments of both exuberance and dismay. There was no shortage of either in Chicago this weekend.

John Dennehy

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#SolidaritySunday March in NYC


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you were in Chicago tell us what you saw. Submit your story.

New York, NY–Since the beginning of the #noNATO protests, I’d been following news and tweets from Chicago religiously, and was troubled by what I saw and heard happening: the apartment raid and its ensuing terrorism charges, the protester intentionally struck by the police van, the targeting of live streamers, the shameful and unfortunately usual police brutality—and all the while, I had friends who were there. But here at home in New York, caught between busy “real life” and a virtual experience of protest and action. The more I heard what was happening, the more I wanted to do something myself—so you can imagine my excitement when it was announced that Occupies all over were to show their solidarity with those in Chicago, Frankfurt and Montreal on Sunday, M20.

In New York City, we would meet in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan to show our solidarity. I headed there after work and found a fairly large group of people congregated around an umbrella-covered table. This must be Occupy, I thought. I pulled over a chair and sat with the rest, everyone gossiping about what had been going on in Chicago earlier in the day, comparing facts and accounts they had heard. A couple tourists came and asked what the hubbub was all about, and listened respectfully as occupiers explained the CPD’s dubious practices over the weekend as well as our general grievances against NATO.

I myself wasn’t sure what we were specifically going to do tonight—a speak out? A meeting? A march? But shortly after 8:30 we lined up and marched north on 6th Avenue. We were to stop at three different locations in the city, where we would mic check a statement in solidarity with those in Chicago, Frankfurt and Montreal. We crossed to the west side of the street and stood outside News Corp, where we were instructed to lock our arms and stand in a circle, emulating those who had protected Jack from the media and prying eyes after his injury, after being hit by a Chicago Police van the night before. We mic checked the following statement as passersby stopped and listened:

“Mic check! Mic check! Do you know the story of our friend Jack? How he was intentionally run over by the Chicago police last night? How his comrades formed a ring around him after the assault? How they overcame fear in the face of state violence? How they showed the spontaneous beauty of affinity?

We are here at News Corp standing together in a ring of solidarity with our comrades in Chicago, in Montreal, in Frankfurt and across the world as they rise against oppression, inequality and injustice.

We are all Chicago; we are thousands in the streets! We will not be terrorized into silence as we protest the illegitimate power of financial and military elites from the G-8 and NATO.

Mic Check! We are all Montreal; we are thousands in the streets! We refuse the draconian emergecy law invoked by the government; we will continue to rise up and strike against tuition-hikes. Free education is a right!

Mic Check! We are all Frankfurt; we are thousands in the streets! We stand against the globalization of austerity and the punishment of the people for the crimes of the bankers. Another world is possible, and she is on her way!

The 1% uses the police, the military, and the media to prop up a collapsing system. We have our voices, our bodies and our hearts. We are here, we are everywhere, we are not afraid!”

 

During the statement, some police and white shirts tried to get those standing to keep moving, to not stop on the sidewalk and listen to us, but a few of us shouted that the sidewalk is public space and, if you’re not obscuring 50% of the space, it’s within your right to stand as long as you need or want to. By my memory, it did not seem to be an argument the police felt was worth pursuing.

With our work there finished, we continued west on 47th Street to the Times Square area. Those meandering through were now at a standstill as we passed through, watching us silently as we chanted: “From Chicago to NYC, stop police brutality!” I imagine that many of them, who likely had no idea what was going on outside of our city due to the mainstream media’s poor coverage of the protests, thought we were crazy. But the importance of tonight’s action—aside from showing support to our friends and comrades—was that we together were delivering our statement, which explained the power of affinity, solidarity and friendship against a violent police force programmed to oppress dissent—a force that many of us, if given the choice, would rather deny exists in America. Tonight, we demanded to be heard.

As we approached the plaza in front of the red steps, some in our march entreated those sitting on the steps to come down and join us. To my surprise, huge groups were leaving the steps—all of them were stepping down! But I eventually realized that this was not because they were inspired to join us; NYPD was removing everyone from the steps to set up barricades before them. Again, we locked arms in a circle and mic checked our statement of solidarity.

Obviously, there was a bigger audience to our action here than at News Corp, and to shout our statement in front of them was a moving experience. At any Occupy action or event you feel an intense sense of community, but in this case it felt especially good to express in unison the feelings I had felt throughout the past four days. And the fact that we were outward-facing, locking eyes with those standing before us—whether they be tourists, New Yorkers, or the police—made the moment especially touching. The majority of faces looking back at us were solemn, and no matter what they thought of our actions or political philosophy, they were listening.

Afterwards we walked a few blocks south to 43rd Street and 7th Avenue, stopping outside the armed forces recruitment center that’s located just across from the police department. The scene was similar to our last location, with one really great difference: after finishing our statement with “We are here, we are everywhere, we are not afraid!” a bystander shouted out: “And we support you!” Our group erupted into cheers and dancing, backlit by the American flag. The single sentence that man declared in solidarity made the entire night feel worth so much.

After our third reciting of the statement, we quickly “went civilian,” and encouraged anyone around who was not part of Occupy to ask us questions or speak to us if we captured their interest. We would return to Bryant Park at 10; it was now almost 9:30. For now, we basked in the light of Times Square, entranced and hypnotized by the larger-than-life advertisements that surrounded us.

Back at Bryant Park, a small group of us congregated at the corner of 6th Avenue and 42nd Street, where a livestream of the protests in Chicago was projected on a screen held by an occupier. It was bumpy at first—each stream we tried was either choppy, or we went offline—but eventually things were moving. We sat and chatted, and many tried to encourage passersby to watch, with the sad but true statement of “I bet you won’t see this on the news tomorrow!” Once again, what we did tonight seemed very important: passing the message along, creating awareness of this faraway thing that was happening to our friends a few states over—that was happening to all of us.

-Joe Sutton-

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Video Update on Chicago #noNATO M20 Protests


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you’re in Chicago tell us what you’re seeing. Submit your story.

Aaron Cynic of Diatribe Media and the Chicagoist (and on our website, this account of #noNATO action) sent us this video last night in which, around 8:30 outside the Art Institute, he gives his audience an update on NATO protests as well as what’s happening in that moment.

View the video here:

-Aaron Cynic-

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Chicago #NONATO Dispatch Day 1


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you’re in Chicago tell us what you’re seeing. Submit your story.

This post originally appeared at Diatribe Media.

Chicago, IL–The day kicked off in a tame but at least celebratory manner at a rally held in Daley Plaza by National Nurses United. After two hours of speeches and wandering around a square grabbing random flyers and other literature, there was no way that at least part of the 3,000 plus people standing on the square were simply going to go home. Everyone knew it, and one could feel a nervous sense of excitement wafting on the air while the last few chords of Tom Morello’s performance rang out. As people still milled about and I waited to see exactly when an unpermitted march would begin, the Chicago police made what appeared to be a very targeted snatch and grab of a masked protester. According to reports, the police attempted to ask the man a few questions, he refused to answer and was immediately led away in handcuffs. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

That incident was all the rest of the crowd on the plaza needed to incite them to move, and soon enough after a tense few minutes between police and protesters, we were in the streets headed south on Clark, with no clear destination in mind but a sense of determination that we’d march and shut the streets of Chicago down. The anger towards the police was palpable, not only with the most recent arrest in mind, but also keeping into consideration the arrest of eight activists in a night time raid the day before. Three of the arrested are still being held, now being charged with crimes related to terrorism. Shouts of “no justice, no peace, fuck the police” came from hundreds of voices and reverberated off every piece of glass and concrete in the loop.

Still, as the march snaked its way through the streets downtown, the police were mostly restrained. I waited and expected to see a wall of riot police, clad in black with clubs and tear gas at the ready as we turned down various corners, but the hundreds of officers on the street merely wore plain clothes. The march eventually made its way through part of Millennium Park, eventually climbing onto Randolph near Obama’s campaign headquarters. As we started heading west down Randolph, unmarked vans filled with police in riot gear began to pull up. One of CPD’s two LRAD trucks sat ominously but silently on a corner. At the corner of Randolph and Michigan, the unpermitted march that began at the end of the NNU rally met a second set of environmental justice marchers.

Together we marched for a short while longer through the Loop and eventually were stopped at the bridge over the Chicago river on Michigan Avenue, where one demonstrator scaled a bridge tower and managed to rip a banner in half put up by the city to welcome NATO delegates to town. After ringing a large bell on the tower, he jumped down and police attempted to make an arrest. Protesters managed to dearrest him, but another demonstrator was tackled and held by police. Several demonstrators tried to intervene, shouting at police while media who managed to make it close to the situation attempted to document. While I frantically attempted to get photos of the scene, a wall of about a dozen blue helmeted police in full riot gear, clubs drawn flooded the small area on the bridge where an officer was standing on the demonstrator and we were pushed out. Almost immediately, the scene changed from an intense but peaceful demonstration to a tense standoff between protesters and police geared up for battle. Police made one more arrest as hundreds of officers in riot gear filled the streets.

Eventually, remnants of the march headed back through the loop down State Street, chanting at a scarce amount of afternoon shoppers to put away their wallets and let go of their attachment to consumerism. Still holding the street with nearly 300 strong, marchers made their way towards LaSalle and Jackson, home of Occupy Chicago, flanked by hundreds of police on bikes. Shortly after reports of an attempt to kettle demonstrators, protesters headed out to various other actions. Some to a direct action training and celebration in the park at the horse, site of two sets of arrests of Occupy Chicago members during attempts to create an encampment in October, others to jail solidarity to support those arrested.

-Aaron Cynic-

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Anti-Capitalist March: Brutality and Victory


Editors note: This is part of a collection of first-person accounts from #noNATO. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you’re in Chicago tell us what you’re seeing. Submit your story

Chicago, Il -A march that officially started around 6:30pm, but at 3:30 for those who simply traveled from one march to another, was focused around an anti-capitalist theme. The group of protesters started at Lake St. and Desplaines in Chicago’s West Loop. Following the success of a large, vocal, and influential rally and march the day before organized by the NNU (National Nurses Union), police seemed to be extra determined to dampen spirits and the confidence of the protesters who were running mostly on adrenaline, and the solidarity from their fellow brothers and sisters.

Within five minutes into the march, we were met with a line of riot police blocking the street in front of us and the right, and all of them had batons in hand. The front of the march took off to the left in a frantic sprint and everyone followed. This set the tone for the rest of the night, as we continued to try to out maneuver the police as we were trapped several times, and continually threatened with the stalking presence of riot police and mounted police officers. At one point to escape being kettled, we ran across the corner of a small garden then through a parking lot.

Never did we feel comfortable, tension and stress were consistently present, and the hot summer-like temperatures weren’t helping our endurance. Even when we were allowed (practically forced) to travel down certain streets due to blockades we were constantly surrounded and trapped at any given moment making an emergency escape for anyone impossible in case things got bad, but nonetheless we all did the only thing we could do: march and chant our asses off.

As the march came to Washington and State St. once again protesters found themselves trapped. Several times before and often the amorphous group was conflicted in which direction to go, and at times considered turning around and going back the way they came. This time though it seemed as if they had had enough. They came to exercise their first amendment right, had been intimidated and bullied and instead of trying to outmaneuver the police would try to move straight through the police line.

At that point a shoving match ensued, but the police quickly upped the ante and started swinging their batons, beating protesters. I quickly backed up to the sidewalk as I anticipated things getting bad. It didn’t take long for a woman to emerge from the crown bleeding from the head, with blood covering about half of her face.


Video from the Anti-Capitalist March via natoindymedia on YouTube

Those in my affinity group were quick to act and form a wall in front of her as to not incite panic, as well as to block off the media. We were effective in allowing the street medics to treat her while maintaining a relative calm as to not draw unnecessary attention to the violent situation.

As the march continued we were successful in doing the one thing the city of Chicago didn’t want: marching on Michigan Avenue, the world renowned Magnificent Mile, and the premier shopping street in the city, that is filled with large groups of people drinking, dining and shopping. We were able to put on display in front of the public an uncensored view of what a protest really looks like instead of relying on the media conglomerates. People were in awe of the display of police force as dozens of riot vans and police vehicles stormed in to provide back up. The march was then trapped onto Michigan and Congress, the location of Occupy Chicago’s GA’s (general assembly meetings), but hundreds of people were able to see from the median and the sidewalk the absurdity of the police state and how it treats those wishing to exercise their first amendment right.

Months ago we were scolded, jeered, and even threatened by the public, but now it seemed that the mood was overwhelmingly in support of the protesters. Those of us who were separated from the march started chanting in solidarity and quickly got other non-marchers to join. Creative, witty chants brightened and rather bleak situation because it was here last fall that those in Occupy Chicago was mass arrested twice.

It was in this climactic moment that energy skyrocketed as the divide between protester and civilian was removed. There was an instantaneous realization that what was occurring was wrong, as if everyone had a unifying moment of empathy for the march that was being bullied by the police state. Once the march was allowed to continue up Michigan virtually all the spectators followed along side the sidewalk and some even joined in on the street.

The power of the people had been unleashed Pandora’s Box and there is no way to put it back in. The stage is now set for the NATO protests in the next two days, and if this day is any type of a sign of things to come, then history will be made and Sam Cooke was right all along: A Change Gonna Come.

-David (oloroso.david@gmail.com)-

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Day 3 on the 99Solidarity Bus


Editor’s note: A version of this story originally appeared on Suicide Girls Blog. Part one of the story may be found here; part two is hereYou can read more #noNATO coverage on Occupied Stories by clicking here.

Chicago, IL–After 50 hours on the road, and three days without a proper night’s sleep, tiredness was becoming a serious factor. Our ragtag group of activists, occupiers, and livestreamers had gathered in Pershing Square between 3 and 4 AM on the morning of Wednesday, May 16, and most, including us, had foregone sleep the night before in order to make last-minute preparations. The expected 4 AM departure of the three 99% Solidarity-organized and National Nurses United-funded Los Angeles occu-buses had been delayed for two hours while we awaited the arrival of the Bay Area Nine – a heroic group of Oakland and San Francisco occupiers who had traveled down via Greyhound after their direct ride to Chicago had been cancelled at short notice. It was therefore around 6 AM before we finally set off from Downtown LA.

Our journey time had been further extended by two separate cases of overheated-engine syndrome as we convoyed through the Nevada desert, and a minor medical emergency 100+ miles away from the Illinois state line. A few over-extended, but essential, pee and smoke breaks had also impacted our ETA. When we arrived at our final destination, a short walk away from Occupy Chicago’s Convergence Center at around 6 AM on Friday May 19, we were nearly half a day late. But despite the exhaustion, our spirits were for the most part high, boosted by the excitement of what was to come, and by the beauty of the city, which the majority of our group had never visited before.

As one of three designated bus captains, I hung around to make sure everyone was situated. Since the lateness of our arrival meant we’d mostly missed our accommodation opportunities for the night, some of our group decided to join other occupiers who were occupying Lake Michigan’s beach, some headed off to meet with friends, and the rest followed representatives from Occupy Chicago, who had kindly greeted us with an offer of breakfast, which would be served was soon as their Convergence Center opened at 8:30 AM.

With photos to edit and upload, and words such as these to file, I headed to a motel room which was serving as 99% Solidarity’s temporary base. Having been starved of a reliable internet connection for the past two days, there was much to catch up on, and very little time, since the march leading up to the NNU organized People’s G8 / Robin Hood Tax Rally was scheduled to star at 11 AM.

Following a shower, and a frenzy of emails, uploads, and social media posts, I grabbed a much-needed Starbucks, a liquid breakfast/boost being all I had time for. (Unfortunately, sometimes, corporate crack is unavoidable – and this was one of those occasions!) I met up with a core group of occupiers and activists at Michigan and Madison, and headed over to Daley Plaza with them.

As we made our way down E Washington, we admired the barricades which the Chicago Police Department had kindly laid out on either side of the street to make out of town occupiers feel right at home. Given the much-publicized increased police presence, which involved importing officers from several other states, the atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed. When a group of CPD officers wearing full-on riot helmets cycled past on bikes, at this juncture, quite frankly the sight was more ridiculous than threatening. But as we closed in on Daley Plaza, the police presence was far less frivolous.

It was heartening to see an impressively large crowd had turned out to support the nurses and their call for a Robin Hood Tax. These overworked and underpaid group of individuals are on the frontlines of the war against the working and middle class, and the breakdown of our economy is particularly salient to those who staff our emergency rooms. There is therefore a natural affinity between the goals of Occupy and the nurses union, who were among the first of the traditional labor organizations to support the fledgling alternative grassroots activist movement.

Another stalwart supporter of the Occupy movement is Tom Morello, who performed at the rally once the talk was done. He gleefully taunted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had attempted to silence the Rage Against the Machine guitarist by pulling the NNU’s permit after they announced he was scheduled to perform. The resulting public outcry having forced Emanuel to relent.

“I know damn well I’m welcome in Chicago” Morello said to the cheering and appreciative crowd. “The mayor’s office tried to shut this whole thing down…How ridiculous for the mayor’s office to think I would do anything to hurt Chicago? Chicago is my favorite city on the whole world.”

After Morello’s perfectly pitched mix of rhetoric and rebel songs, the rally dissipated. The nurses took to their buses, occupiers took to the streets, and, after another burst of essential online activity, this activist/journalist voted for sleep.

-Nicole Powers-

 

Visit the gallery at SuicideGirls.com for oodles more images from the event.

To keep tabs on the progress of the Chicago bus trip and actions, subscribe to the 99% Solidarity media Twitter list and check in with us via the following livestreams:

OccupyFreedomLA
CodeFrameSF
TheRevolutionWillBeStreamed
CrossXBones

Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

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Day 2 on the 99Solidarity Bus Trip


Editor’s note: A version of this story originally appeared on Suicide Girls Blog. Part one of the story may be found here; part three is hereYou can read more #noNATO coverage on Occupied Stories by clicking here.

Chicago, IL–Day 2 of our epic journey was very flat, but literally, rather than metaphorically. Having made it through Denver’s Rocky Mountains under the cover of darkness while most on the bus were asleep, we woke up to a spectacular sunrise as we sped across the border into Nebraska. There the terrain was level, very level, as were heads on our designated LA media bus.

California Dream Stream Team member OccupyFreedomLA conducted classes aboard the bus on livestreaming and social media. A veteran occupier, she also made sure everyone knew the local Chicago National Lawyers Guild number and also read out a briefing she’d been given on the Chicago Police Department’s provisions for press over the long weekend. The CPD “Ground Rules For Media” included these ‘highlights’:

No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.” Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken. Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else. Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest…

There will not be any quick personal recognizance bond just for media members…

But police emphasized that those who choose to walk amid the protesters are “on your own.” The department cannot guarantee the safety of those who do so and cannot guarantee that they can extract any reporter who ends up the target of protesters.

That last line about reporters becoming targets of protesters was particularly inflammatory, and received the appropriate derisive response from our 99% Solidarity media crew, who though not impartial, were there to accurately report the news rather than make it with acts of violence. Indeed, everyone on board all of the 99% Solidarity buses had signed a pledge confirming their peaceful intentions, which was a pre-requisite for boarding.

Talking of peaceful, positive and progressive intentions, after members participated in one of the weekly Media Consortium Inter-Occupy press briefing calls, we had some great conversations on the direction of the movement over the course of the day – and some even greater ones with our bus drivers, who shared their thoughts on Occupy, which were all very constructive if not entirely supportive. Of the three drivers we’d had (who’d operated in shifts due to the length of our trip), it was our last driver who turned out to be our biggest supporter, somewhat surprisingly given his former occupation: though a former Marine, he shared many of our anti-NATO sentiments, expressing a frustration at our government’s overseas policy and treatment of veterans, which was naturally tempered by his loyalty to his fellow servicemen.

When the conversation died down, the documentaries Casino Jack and The United States of Money, about corrupt lobbyist (is there any other kind?) Jack Abramoff, and Exit Through the Gift Shop, about street artist Banksy and his accidental protégé Mr. Brainwash, kept our group entertained. The standard revolution diet of pizza, again, kept them sustained.

As we drove into Iowa, we were confronted by another spectacular sunset. Our livestreamers, who by now had their own designated hashtag #CaliDST, were getting quite competitive when capturing these.

A minor medical emergency delayed us for an hour just before crossing the Illinois state border. As we headed into Chicago almost 50 hours after our journey had begun, those on the bus let out a collective cheer as we spied the spectacular skyline. Another sunrise, this time over the waters of Lake Michigan, greeted us as we drove into the heart of the city.

Our buses stopped at Lakeshore & Belmont, just a few blocks away from Occupy Chicago’s Convergence Center. Local Occupy members kindly met us with promises of a much-needed breakfast as soon as the staging area opened at 8.30 AM that day. Most on the bus decided to take them up on their offer, not wanting to make history on an empty stomach. Indeed news of the protesters arrival in the Windy City in a fleet of 17 99% Solidarity/NNU buses had already made the news, with a photo of the first of four from NYC taking up most of the Chicago Sun-Times front page!

-Nicole Powers-

To keep tabs on the progress of the Chicago bus trip and actions, subscribe to the 99% Solidarity media Twitter list and check in with us via the following livestreams:

OccupyFreedomLA
CodeFrameSF
TheRevolutionWillBeStreamed
CrossXBones

Full disclosure: Nicole Powers has been assisting with 99% Solidarity’s efforts and is in no way an impartial observer. She is proud of this fact.

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#noNATO


Below is a list of first-person accounts from the #noNATO actions in Chicago. This page will be updated as we receive new stories so check back often. Don’t let the corporate media speak for you, if you were in Chicago tell us what you saw. Submit your story.

 

In the Middle and In Between: A NATO: Retrospective Reminiscing a day of #noNATO action, from veterans tossing back their medals to a long & arduous march in the summer heat.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Chicago, Part 2: Cracking Skulls: After a heart-breaking ceremony by American soldiers, police descend to violently intimidate the crowd.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Chicago, Part 1: Gathering: One obvious quality shared by all the actions during NATO was a sense of community, thanks to the efforts of the National Nurses United and Occupy Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Congratulations for Subversively Preventing Free Speech & the Right to Peacefully Assemble: A photographer returns to her home city of Chicago during the NATO summit, with no welcome from the police.

 

 

 

 

An Anarchist’s Odyssey to Chicago: Part 3: An occupier celebrates in the street at the Boeing shut down and reflects on the movement before heading back to New York with five staples in the head from a police baton, but many new friends.

 

 

 

 

Show Me What a Clown State Looks Like!: The #noNATO protests featured a new tactic, the Clown Bloc, which serves as example for less traditional methods of protest.

 

 

 

 

 

An Anarchist’s Odyssey to Chicago: Part 2 A wildcat march through downtown Chicago turns bloody when this protester is hit with police batons and sent to the hospital.

 

 

 

An Anarchist’s Odyssey to Chicago: Part 1 Visiting Chicago for #noNATO, an anarchist makes a pilgrimage to the Haymarket Anarchists memorial between protests.

 

 

 

 

99Solidarity Occu-Bus Day 7: Coming ‘Home’  “One of the other things I realized on this fantastic journey is that regardless of whether I’m in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or my native United Kingdom, when I’m amongst occupiers I am home.”

 

 

 

99Solidarity Occu-Bus Day 6: ICE and Leaving Chicago: Those bused in to Chicago for #noNATO have a final fay of actions before leaving the city.

 

 

 

 

Protesting the Empire From Oakland to Chicago: For a protester from Oakland, the Chicago Police Department is only another example of police brutality in a national trend.

 

 

 

 

Solidarity During Wartime in Chicago “If it’s one thing I can take away from observing, writing about, and participating in the protests at the NATO summit, it’s that creating community will be what saves the world.”

 

 

 

 

99Solidarity Occu-Bus Day 5: #M20 An occupier from LA marches on NATO and see’s why traditional media outlets are a dying breed.

 

 

 

 

99Solidarity Bus Day 4 (Part 2) After 50 hours on a bus from LA, things begin to heat up in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Natalie Solidarity on Incidents with Police at NATO #M19 Protests Natalie recaps the Saturday Marches and Police violence.

 

 

 

The Accidental Medic: A Short Narrative From The NATO Protests “In that alley, we had three bloody head injuries, and one blunt force trauma injury to the chest. The police would not let EMS anywhere near us. We tried calling 911 dispatch, but to no avail.”

 

 

 

 

Against NATO: Blood and Solidarity: “There were about 50 of us when we decided to take the street. The spontaneity of our protest created an incredible energy that would be difficult to plan. Once we were in the street, filling out all three lanes on our side and chanting loudly, we almost literally doubled in size with each minute.”

 

 

 

#SolidaritySunday March in NYC: Solidarity sweeps the streets in New York, as members of OWS march together with their comrades at #noNATO and protests around the world.

 

 

 

 

Video Update on Chicago #noNATO M20 Protests: An occupier gives his audience an update on NATO protests as well as what’s happening in that moment in this short video update.

 

 

 

 

Anti-Capitalist March Brutality and Victory: An occupier describes M19’s march against capitalism and brutality throughout Chicago as part of the #noNATO protests.

 

 

 

 

99Solidarity Bus Day 4: March on Rahm’s House: After traveling on a bus for 3 days, a group of occupiers from LA finally joins a march on Rahm Emanuel’s home.

 

 

 

 

Chicago NATO Dispatch Day 1: A report of the first day of protest against NATO in Chicago and the ensuing march.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 on the 99Solidarity Bus Trip: The bus from LA is now in Chicago, where the group attends the Robin Hood Tax Rally with a performance by Tom Morello.

 

 

 

Day 2 on the 99Solidarity Bus Trip: The bus from LA makes its way to Chicago’s anti-NATO protests after 50 hours of epic travel.

 

 

 

 

99Solidarity Bus Trip: An occupier from LA describes the first day of an epic cross country bus caravan heading toward #noNATO and Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Whose Summit? The People’s Summit!  A report-back from the People’s Summit and the start of ten days of action in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

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