"Occupy" movement participants and an array of protest groups are among those gathering in Chicago this wekeend to demonstrate outside the NATO summit. Sunday, protesters are ramping up for the largest demonstration of the weekend. So are police and Homeland Security agents. Today, thousands of demonstrators are marching to the convention center where President Obama and other world leaders are meeting. Four men have been arrested on terror charges. Lawyers for the men now referred to by some protesters as the "NATO 4" claim undercover agents set up a bomb plot, and entrapped the suspects.
Saturday night, at about 10:40PM local time, a Chicago Police van "drove into a crowd of demonstrators who were attempting to cross westbound over the Jackson Street bridge at the Chicago River," according to this video report and testimony from people who were present.
Chicago Police van number 6751, accelerated as it passed through the crowd, striking several people and seriously injuring one victim who was later transported to the emergency room. The extent of the victim's injuries are not known. The driver of the van made no attempt to ascertain the condition of any of the people that were struck. Witnesses watched as the van passed through the phalanx of police surrounding the scene and drove away from the area. Had there been a civilian driving, they would certainly have been charged with a hit-and-run on a pedestrian in the roadway and taken into custody once they had been apprehended. No order to disperse had been given to the crowd.
Also last night, a group of independent web video journalists report having been been harassed, detained, and handcuffed by Chicago police. They claim their gear was damaged and video documenting police attacks on protesters destroyed. Below, from the WeAreChange YouTube feed (many videos there from the Chicago protests):
WE HAVE BEEN RAIDED SOS— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 20, 2012
Luke Rudkowksi, Tim Pool, Jeoff Shively, Dustin & Jess were driving home after covering a NATO protest in Chicago only to have their car raided by police.
Guns were drawn, car raided just after.we.called.nlg explained we may be about to be framed to come to house while we gathered belongings.— Geoffrey Giraffe (@Jiraffa) May 20, 2012
Car.got raided by 12 cars, cuffed, searched, interrogated.— Geoffrey Giraffe (@Jiraffa) May 20, 2012
My friend that i saw earlier today said he was detained illegally for 6 hrs at a DHS center and questioned about me— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) May 20, 2012
The CPD got all the info on me that DHS did not get from my friend that was detained and interrogated about me— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) May 20, 2012
Homeland Security wanted to know what i was wearing who i was with and where i was staying this is freaky friend will make video update soon— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) May 20, 2012
Just found out my friend who was detained by DHS 10min after seeing me was interrogated about me by name where i was staying who i was with— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) May 20, 2012
And in related news: At the time of this blog post, there are reports that the City of Chicago website has been DDOS'd. Over the weekend, there were reports of other such DDOSes.
Follow the Chicago protests today as they unfold, with the livestreamers the Chicago police and Homeland Security are following: Tim Pool's web video stream, Luke Rudkowski's web video stream. On Twitter: Geoffrey Giraffe (@jiraffa), Tim Pool (@timcast), Luke Rudkowski (@lukewearechange).