A National network of nurses gathered at Daley Plaza in a noisy but peaceful demonstration demanding a "Robin Hood" tax on banks' financial transactions
The first official protest of NATO kicked off Friday afternoon with nurses from around the world gathering in Daley Plaza for a rally.
"Chicago is a great place to come, but we're here with a message, obviously. And our hope is that tomorrow we'll get that message out," co-president of National Nurses United Karen Higgins said at the Sheraton Hotel, where more than 1,000 nurses gathered a night earlier.
That message: tax Wall Street to relieve the growing problem of inadequate health care.
The centerpiece of the rally is a call for a Robin Hood tax, a small levy of 50 cents or less on $100 of trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments that could raise up to $350 billion every year in revenue, NNU explained in a statement.
It's a protest that almost didn't happen. Originally approved as a march and a rally, city officials a little more than a week ago threatened to pull the nurses' already-approved permit if they didn't amend their plans.
The city wanted the rally moved to Grant Park because a concert by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello increased the likelihood of an overwhelming crowd.
Ultimately, the two sides reached a deal. The nurses dropped the march and agreed to a shortened rally and brief concert.
"It got a little bit shaky there for a while but ... as nurses, we're like one of these people -- we never give up," said Higgins.