Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended his call for strict security measures and the broad authority to put in place the contracts needed to ensure next May's G8 and NATO summits run smoothly.
The dual summits -- scheduled for May 15 through May 22 -- is going to be the focus of much attention, and as has been seen in the past, where the summits go, so too do the protesters.
"I’m doing what is appropriate for a unique event with a unique attention to the city. ... This is temporary and this is just for this conference," Emanuel told reporters after Wednesday's City Council meeting.
His plan calls for hiking fines for protestors who break the law and limiting protesters' ability to campout overnight
at city parks, beaches and playgrounds. He's also asking for Chicago police to deputize additional law enforcement personnel.
"It gives us the capacity to orderly organize it and host it, and then it's a one-time, only for the G8 and NATO, and that's it. It's not -- you guys, you know that," he pressed.
Protesters who resist police will see fines hikes. The current fines are between $25 and $500. During the summits, Emanuel proposed that fines start at $500 and jump to $1,000.
"People have the right to express themselves and they will. I also have the responsibility to enforce the law, which we will. Those two are not in conflict," said Emanuel.
More then ten years ago, in Seattle, about 35,000 protesters showed up when the World Trade Organization met there. Violence broke out there, as it did in Pittsburgh in 2009 when the G20 summit was held.
"I'm concerned about the safety of Chicago police officers and Chicago firemen that are on the street there, but I'm also concerned abou the safety of citizens, said Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Shields. "The problem with a G8 summit: it's very unique because there are professional agitators and professional rioters and these are people that do this for a living."
Emanuel is also asking for approval to execute contracts for security planning and logistics without City Council approval.
"It’s very specific. It’s only for this. What you have to do is move with speed because you have something coming up in May," the mayor said.
Emanuel on Tuesday apologized for the disruption the summits will bring to citizens' daily lives (video), but stressed the event was an important one given Chicago's stature in the world.