Imagine if, last May, the protesters who marched against the NATO had been drinking in the street. Imagine if they’d thrown their empty beer bottles at the police. Imagine if they’d jumped on cars, dragged tree branches through the street and climbed on public sculptures. Imagine if they’d set off fireworks and climbed over police barricades.
Opinion: What If NATO Protesters Had Behaved Like Blackhawks Fans?
They would have gotten their asses kicked. If the NATO protesters had behaved anything like Blackhawks fans in Wrigleyville did after the team won the Stanley Cup, they would have been sprayed with tear gas, beaten with truncheons and trampled by police horses.
None of that was necessary. Except for a few Black Bloc protesters throwing cups at a Jimmy John’s on Michigan Avenue, and a shoving match outside McCormick Place, the march against NATO was a peaceful demonstration. It was also much more aggressively policed.
The difference, of course, between a riot against a meeting of defense ministers and the hijinks of rowdy hockey fans is that the first would have been an embarrassment to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had already lost the G-8 Summit after doubts about Chicago’s ability to provide police protection. The second celebrated an event whose glory will reflect on Rahm. This is his first sports championship as mayor of Chicago. You can bet he’ll be on stage at Friday’s celebration and will pose with the Stanley Cup.
A few Blackhawks fans were led away in handcuffs after celebrating the Stanley Cup. But they weren’t treated nearly as harshly as political dissidents would have been, if they’d behaved the same way.