Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

City Denies NATO Protest Permit

Officials said the May 20th application was denied because of transportation, congestion and security concerns that come with the larger NATO summit

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    UPDATE: Protesters file appeal...

    City officials have denied a modified application for a protest planned for the start of the NATO summit in May.

    The protest group, the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda, previously had an identical application approved for May 19 but submitted a modified application after President Obama yanked the G8 summit for the quieter setting of Camp David.

    Officials said the May 20 application was denied because of transportation, congestion and security concerns that come with the larger NATO summit.

    "The commissioner finds that there are not available at the time of the parade a sufficient number of on-duty police officers, or other city employees authorized to regulate traffic, to police and protect lawful participants in the parade and non-participants," Mike Simon, the assistant commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, wrote in a denial letter posted to the Chicago Tribune website.

    The group applied for a parade permit to start at Daley Plaza and end at McCormick Place, where the world leaders would be gathered. In the denial letter, the city proposed a different route, beginning at Grant Park's Petrillo Band Shell and snaking the parade route to the 2300 block of South Indiana Avenue, blocks away from McCormick Place.

    The protest group's organizer, Andy Thayer, rejected the city's proposal and said talks were ongoing.

    Thayer told the Chicago Sun-Times the city's argument was "ridiculous" given that the previous, identical application was approved.