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Protesters, Police Collide in Meandering March Through Downtown, South Loop

Chicago's police superintendent said he believes there were six protesters arrested

Sunday, May 20, 2012  |  Updated 1:48 AM CDT
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Officers in riot gear collide with demonstrators in Chicago's Loop.

Officers in riot gear collide with demonstrators in Chicago's Loop.

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Protesters Try to Stop Police Van

A police van trying to make its way east on Jackson Boulevard was met with some protesters.
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Chicago's police superintendent said he believes there were six protesters arrested during activity Saturday that seemed to be a constant cat and mouse game with police.

For several hours, a mass of protesters, and factions of them, meandered through the Loop and South Loop of Chicago.

At times, mounted police and others in riot gear created barricades with their bodies and bicycles to block demonstrators from advancing. Police shouted "Get back" at the protesters. Shoving ensued between protesters and police.

"We did, at times go to protective equipment for our officers because we were receiving incoming, if you will, where people were throwing stuff at us, so I had to protect the officers," said
Supt. Garry McCarthy, adding that officers were being pelted with batteries and bottles.

That scenario was repeated several times throughout the evening: at State and Washington, at Michigan and Balbo and again as protesters tried to make their way north on Michigan Avenue.
McCarthy said there was a strategy to that effort.

"If you look at what we've been doing, is we've been trying to facilitate these marches. They actually don't even know where they're going most of the time," said McCarthy. "This, I'm told, was actually a group of out-of-town folks, so they actually didn't know where they were going."

Unlike Friday, police seemed successful in achieving one apparent goal: preventing demonstrators from reaching the Michigan Avenue bridge. After making their way up Michigan Avenue, the mass of people headed west down Randolph and Lake streets.

One crowd of people later gathered near the Willis Tower, at West Jackson Boulevard and South Wacker Drive. A police van attempted to get through the area was blocked by protesters. 

Another van that met a similar group of protesters had its tires slashed, McCarthy said.

Down the street, a group of demonstrators planted themselves outside the Chicago Board of Trade. Officers with batons and bicycles kept protesters away from the building.

Earlier, one protester was taken away in handcuffs following a large confrontation near South Michigan Avenue and East 18th Avenue following an earlier rally near Daley Plaza.

One protester struggled with officers and was pulled out of the crown and, presumably, arrested.

The mayor's office estimated between 750 and 1,000 people made up the day's protests.

For the latest updates on NATO in Chicago, check our live blog and our special NATO section. Be a part of the conversation by using #NATORedZone on social media.

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