Posts Tagged Riot control
Riot gear cops rain down blows on protesters
BY KIM JANSSEN, LAUREN FITZPATRICK, NATASHA KORECKI, SANDRA GUY, DAVID ROEDER AND TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporters May 20, 2012 8:54AM
Screen grab of ABC7 news cast showing police and protesters clashing at Michigan and Cermak.
Updated: May 20, 2012 6:00PM
Chicago Police in riot gear battled with “Black Bloc” protesters at Michigan and Cermak, with officers raining down baton blows, pushing taunting protesters back and leaving some bloody.
A sea of blue-helmeted police officers began violently battling with the protesters just before 5 p.m. The fights stopped and started and stopped again for the past hour. A strong flare-up of violence erupted around 5:30 p.m. — just as lightning began flashing to the east as a stormfront moved in.
After an hour of pushing, yelling and aggressive crowd control tactics, police pushed the block of protesters back about 50 yards.
The taunting protesters were throwing sticks, bottles and garbage cans at the officers at the intersection— where a mostly peaceful march erupted into violence.
Blows from batons rained down on the front row of the “Black Bloc” protesters, who were screaming at police and pushing forward. As police pushed back, the protesters fell down.
After 5:30 p.m., police called for more cops in riot gear and police on horses to augment the throng already battling.
Minutes after 5 p.m., police ordered protesters to disperse or get arrested. Some of the protesters were yelling at police about being stopped from reaching McCormick Place, where the NATO Summit is underway.
“Attention, attention, this the Chicago Police Department. You must disperse to the west,” police announced over loudspeakers — in both English and Spanish.
A shouting Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was near the front line — without a helmet. He was directly behind the front row of officers, picking up debris at one point and clearing it away. He could be seen angrily shouting.
He was pacing back and force, apparently giving orders to his troops. At one point he slapped one of his officers on the top of his blue riot helmet to show his support.
The melee left protesters bloodied. Police were leading detained protesters away from the melee, which began shortly before 5 p.m. Several protesters could be seen wrapped in black cloth to keep their arms at their sides. One man in yellow had a bloody forehead.
At a nearby medic station, at least eight people were being treated for cuts.
Protesters were chanting, “Shame, shame, shame!” at the police and were throwing broken placards, garbage cans and water bottles.
Reporters covering the march were told by police before the blows to clear out. But they were pinned in by the throbbing mob and unable to clear. One reporter emerged covered with somebody else’s blood.
The clash between the Black Bloc marchers and police also involved regular protesters as well who were hemmed in between the police and angry marchers — and had nowhere to go.
One young man, Justin Crumbly, 24, of Arlington, Va., said: “I’m getting arrested, and I don’t know why.”
McCarthy was on a median directing activity with police and ordered officers to take off their gas masks.
Jenna Pope, 21, and Charity Schmidt, 34, both of Madison, Wis., said a group of about 50 protesters tried to move toward McCormick Place when police started hitting people with batons.
“I saw two guys bleeding from the head,” Pope said.
The police had directed the crowd to leave by going west, and was stopping the crowd from heading east.
The “Black Bloc” protesters had clashed with police earlier Sunday afternoon near a fastfood restaurant at 13th and Michigan.
Protesters hurled bottles and invective at police, who are clad in riot gear and pushed marchers back as they approached a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop.
The crowd moved on, but tensions between the “Black Bloc” protesters and police remained high, among a mainly peaceful march.
Authorities also said police had arrested six people in possession of balloons filled with urine and socks filled with rocks at Harrison and Michigan.
The march started at Grant Park, as protesters gathered there Sunday afternoon to rally. They finished the march near McCormick Place as the Chicago NATO Summit opened and world leaders began talks on the future of Afghanistan. As the march ended, veterans were giving speeches to the crowd, denouncing the war in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the day, in 90-degree heat, thousands of protesters who’d rallied at Grant Park’s Petrillo Band Shell began marching west on Jackson, south on State, east on Harrison and south on Michigan. The line of marchers was led by war veterans, many of them dressed in camouflage, some of whom were going to return their war medals in a ceremony on McCormick.
The exact number of marchers varied depending on the source. Protesters estimated 3,000 to 5,000 showed up, but a mayoral spokesman said the official estimate was 1,800 to 2,200. Reporters on the scene said an accurate count was difficult, but said it was definitely higher than 2,200.
Chicago police, in short sleeves and many wearing vests but not riot gear, lined both sides of the street, shutting down traffic for the march, with two police vans driving ahead of the group, clearing the way. The rally, concert and march were permitted by the city.
As the march reached Harrison, state police in helmets were visible, with riot gear nearby, and other police were on bicycles.
At Cermak and Michigan, waiting for the rally to arrive, helmeted police on horseback, the horses outfitted with plastic visors to protect their eyes.
There, about 15 people gathered to call for a no-fly zone in Syria and the ouster of the rulers who have used force against civilian opponents.
As young people took turns leading chants over a bullhorn, “free, free Syria,” Noura Almasri, 33, of Aurora, said she took advantage of the NATO Summit being here to call attention to the need for intervention since children and other innocent people have been killed in her native country.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who spoke to reporters at noon in Grant Park, said he was expecting a peaceful rally — and his officers are ready to manage the crowd.
“I anticipate today is going to be a good day,” McCarthy said.
A protester standing behind McCarthy shouted over him: “Children are dying now!” McCarthy kept his cool and kept answering questions about how his department is handing the protests.
“We told our cops we’ve trained for this we have a plan for this,” he said. “All we have to do now is execute. Be professional. Act like there is a camera on you at all times.”
McCarthy said the crowds at noon are much smaller than 50,000 that some organizers were promising.
“Clearly that hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Earlier, during the rally, at the Petrillo Bandshell, musician Tom Morello led the crowd, including dozens of military veterans, in a rendition of the Woody Guthrie folk classic, “This Land Is Your Land,” urging protesters to “fight against economic injustice.”
Protesters carried signs in support of Wikileaks alleged source Private Bradley Manning, and countless other progressive causes, including ending the war in Afghanistan.
Afghani-American Abdul Mohmand made the trip from Salt Lake City, where he teaches politics, to join the protest.
“The U.S. has to negotiate with the Taliban,” he said. “How can America continue to prop up a government that has no support?”
“I’m here to protest the injustice that is going on in Afghanistan, the war crimes and the human rights violations and the atrocities.”
President Barack Obama arrived at McCormick at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. People were lined up in River North to watch his motorcade as it drove from the Sheraton down Ontario to the expressway and to McCormick Place.
Earlier Sunday morning, Iraq Veterans Against the War members spoke out against the Iraq and Afghan War and called for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and support for returning veterans at an event near Grant Park. Several dozen veterans were there, with some of them planning to give back the medals they earned in service later Sunday.
First Lady Michelle Obama is leading the spouses of NATO leaders on a tour of The Gary Comer Youth Center, which is home to everything from academic tutoring to a “Youth Urban Agriculture Program” to a recording studio, at 7200 S. Ingleside in the city’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, officials said.
Mrs. Obama and the rest of the group, along with kids involved in the Comer center and faculty there, will be treated to some local entertainment, including the South Shore Dance Drill Team, the Muntu Dance Theater which features African and African-American dance and music as well as the Soul Children of Chicago, another musical group.
President Barack Obama and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen open the main event, the summit, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will huddle on the sidelines of the summit for an hour-long meeting. Their talks are expected to focus on planning for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections, as well as the prospect of a political settlement with the Taliban, a senior Obama administration official said.
- Police, protesters clash in Loop – chicagotribune.com (mbcalyn.com)
- One arrested as NATO protesters disperse downtown – Chicago Sun-Times (mbcalyn.com)
- NATO Blog: Thousands gather in Grant Park for rally, march – chicagotribune.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Saturday night live: Hundreds of protesters march through Loop, financial district, on Michigan – Chicago Sun-Times (mbcalyn.com)
- Police, protesters clash in Loop (chicagotribune.com)
- WATCH: NATO Protesters Try To Block Police Van With Their Bodies (huffingtonpost.com)
- Video: Chicago Police Van Runs over Protester (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Chicago Braces For NATO Riots (snspost.com)
- Pepper Spray, Riot Gear And The Smearing Of Occupy Wall Street (while-you-were-sleeping.com)
- NATO-Chicago Dispatch: Pictoral Play-By-Play Of Friday March, Rally, Arrests & Preliminary Insanity (thephoenix.com)