Demand the right to march against NATO/G8 summits in Chicago: National call in day, Tuesday, January 17th

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago is attempting to clamp down on First Amendment rights to march and speak out against the NATO and G8 summits in May 2012.

Emanuel is trying to rush through the City Council on January 18th a vote to greatly restrict the right to protest:  raising fines for arrests during protests; making unreasonable demands on protest organizers, such as one marshal for every 100 marchers; a list in advance of all signs and banners in a march; and a list of all equipment for amplification of sound one week before any march.  Also he wants permits for any sidewalk protest, which would be a major blow to unions and community groups.

Also, while the city has granted permits for a rally and march on the first day of the May 19th – 21st summits, organizers were told that permits could be revoked by the Secret Service.

We are asking supporters of the march against NATO/G8 to call Mayor Rahm Emmanuel on Tuesday January 17th.   (If you live in the City of Chicago, please also call your alderperson as well).

Phone number 312-744-5000 

Demand the following:

1) Back off the changes to the ordinances covering protests and public assemblies.

2) Publicly call on the Secret Service to permit CANG8 to use the permit sites granted by the city.

Then, report your call afterwards by sending an email to


On January 12, the City of Chicago granted permits to the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) for a rally and march on May 19. CANG8 is mobilizing against the summits of NATO/G8 occurring in Chicago that weekend. The two summits will be overlapping over 3 days.

CANG8 will continue building broad support for their demands for permits and exposing the NATO and G8 agendas of bankers, generals and heads of state of the wealthiest nations.

CANG8 is planning a family-friendly demonstration to take their message to within sight and sound of the McCormick Place where the summits are scheduled.

On the permit letters to the coalition from the City, a brief waiver statement reads:

Please note that the G8/NATO summits have been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a Nation Special Security Event, which means the U.S. Secret Service is mandated by Federal law to head the design and implementation of an operational security plan for the summits. In the event the Secret Service designates specific security zones or areas that impact your event location, the Public Building Commission will work with you to find an alternate location for your event.

This threat of the Secret Service intervention is real. It appears the joint city-federal agency overseeing the summits might stop protests from reaching the eyes and ears of the rich and powerful who will be at McCormick Place in May.

In mid December Mayor Emanuel proposed the City Council vote to accept what he called temporary changes to city ordinances to make protests harder to organize and to threaten anyone who speaks up with enormous fines and police repression. In early January, the Mayor flipped the script, apologized for any miss understanding and said the ordinance changes would be permanent.

City council leaders were said to be in the “yes” camp, supporting the mayor, but a continuing pressure campaign that drew in Occupy Chicago, SEIU, the Teachers Union and civil liberties advocates softened their outright support. As reported in the press, on Jan. 12, the mayor’s office witnessed a rebellion by alderpersons who, for the first time, have said “no” to Emanuel.

The city council is scheduled to vote on Emanuel’s ordinance changes at its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Two committees of the city council are scheduled to discuss the changes on Jan. 17. CANG8 is calling for a national call in day to demand Emanuel stop his efforts to deny the right to protest, and locally we are asking allies to call their alderperson to say no to the changes in the ordinances.

For more information about CANG8, check here