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ACLU, Protesters Give Feds NATO Deadline

Protesters want to know the NATO summit security perimeter revealed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCChicago.com
    "They have known since at least last year that the summit would be at McCormick, and yet they have purposely dragged their heels on announcing the security perimeter," said Andy Thayer, an organizer of the Coalition Against the NATO / G8 War & Poverty Agenda.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and local activists want the feds to announce security plans for the May NATO summit in Chicago ... or else.

    The groups set a 5 p.m. Monday deadline for the federal government to reveal their security perimeter at McCormick Place, where the May 20-21 summit will be held.  

    The "or else"? Legal action in federal court.

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    "Given that this is an election year, the Obama administration is loathe to give platforms to those who oppose their pro-war policies," said Andy Thayer, an organizer of the Coalition Against the NATO / G8 War & Poverty Agenda. "They have known since at least last year that the summit would be at McCormick, and yet they have purposely dragged their heels on announcing the security perimeter."

    A public affairs officer with the Secret Service told NBC Chicago their plan has been all along to reveal security perimeters two-to-four weeks prior to the meeting event.

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    Protesters held a news conference Tuesday before heading to court to appeal a City of Chicago decision denying their request to move the date of a previously approved G8 march to coincide with the NATO meeting.

    CANG8 plans to protest at noon May 20 in Grant Park. The group earlier this month accepted the city's proposed alternate route for the protest, but they want to know how far away protesters will be stationed from McCormick Place.

    Protesters said in a statement the federal government in the past has created large security perimeters around national events, pushing away protesters and unconstitutionally diminishing the impact of 1st Amendment-protected activity.

    "The Secret Service has already announced its shopping list for 8-foot-high fencing and other barriers," Thayer said, "and so they can't pretend that they don't know where they're going to put that."

    A Secret Service public affairs officer said they have been in discussions and continue to discuss security perimeters with the ACLU.