"We are still going to march on the opening day of the summit," said Joe Iosbaker, one of the protest organizers.
Indeed, protesters claim the G8's departure may have invigorated their entire effort.
"That was a huge victory, and it is a sign of the strength of the act of protest. But we must say also [moving the G8] is a significant act of cowardice," said Jan Rodolfo, the Midwest Director of the nation's largest nurses union.
She promises an influx of more than 1,000 nurses at the largest demonstration; a march at noon on Sunday, May 20.
Andy Thayer, another NATO protest organizer, said it will be the "only permitted march that is going to go right to the gates of the NATO summit down at McCormick Place."
There were a broad, thousands-strong coalition of groups and issues. One sign seen Thursday may sum up the theme: "NATO=-War Machine of the One Percent."
"Another world is possible," said Nick Egnantz with the group Veterans for Peace. "Peaceful, equitable, sustainable. This is what we believe in."
The groups throw cold water on the widespread fear of violence. They say if it happens it would be incited by the way police act and react.
"We're not the source of controversy. They are," said Iosbaker.
The images of summits past are what worry Chicago police, as well as building and business owners, who have responded by unprecedented security planning and are unabated by the departure of the G8.
Still, Iosbaker said, matter-of-factly, that the protests will be "family friendly."
Only time will tell.