Protest and performance at NATO | Bleader

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Protest and performance at NATO

Posted By on 05.22.12 at 11:35 AM

Follow the tweets.
I’m in Grant Park and can’t quite figure out how to describe what I see. It’s theater. A couple, new to Chicago and wearing pink and blue, are out for a walk. Jesse Jackson is being interviewed behind the Petrillo band shell. Young guys with dreads hang out in trees. The crowd moves out. “Fly Kites not Drones,” says one sign. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans lead the way. It’s hot. Chicago police, Illinois state police, and CTA drivers do their jobs. Three women in neon green carry signs advocating “Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll.” A Ron Paul supporter walks about 100 yards behind the black bloc. Smartphones, shotgun mikes, gorillapods, Z-finders, Canons, and a digital Hasselblad—there must be a couple of million dollars of recording equipment on the street. At the intersection of Cermak and Michigan the crowd is shoulder to shoulder. A young woman sits on the ground with an ice pack on her head. Veterans are throwing their medals on the street. My eyes are dilated. I sit down next to a White Castle and drink ice water. I follow tweets. A block away protesters and police push and shove and things become personal, violent. Mounted police form a line in front of me along Cermak. A young guy in camo screams “motherfucker” at a SWAT team member in full gear. They circle each other, one yelling, the other with jaw and shoulders forward. I eat two sliders and watch. A breeze comes up; it’s cooling down. A young woman from North Carolina picks up trash in front of Hilliard Towers. I walk to Archer and Clark and catch the #6.

Slideshow after the jump.

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