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Occupy Chicago protesters gather in Chicago's Grant Park after marching through the Loop, on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Leading up to the NATO Summit in Chicago protesters are being bused in from cities across the country.
More protesters, mostly from the Occupy movement, are making their way to Chicago.
Groups from New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Portland boarded buses Wednesday morning and settled in for the long haul singing Walt Disney tunes and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
The groups streamed their trips online along the way, spreading the word about the Occupy movement and their Chicago plans. On a bus from L.A., riders described Occupy as "a new kind of lifestyle" and speculated close to 900 supporters ultimately would converge.
“I think this is going to be the largest collection of ... Occupy supporters pretty much ever, so I’m really excited for that,” a protester said on a stream.
New York City protesters will be the first in a wave of people arriving Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Chicago Police have directed buses to Canal Street south of Roosevelt Road.
It's still unclear where they'll all stay, but the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ is ready to house as many people as the church can hold.
Pointing to the church's history of taking in protesters, Michael McConnell said Wellington supports non-violent movements
"We always welcome those who need a place," McConnell said.
Andy Thayer, leader of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CAN-G8), said some of the protesters will arrive in time for the nurses' rally on Friday but a bulk will arrive Saturday morning.
Protesters from Providence, Burlington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis and Albany are among those expected to attend. Thayer noted the protests aren't centrally organized and at this point just make up buses headed this way.