2024 DNC

Demonstrators suing City of Chicago say they've reached agreement on protest route ahead of DNC

The legal battles had loomed large ahead of the convention, set to take place in August

DNC headquarters
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

CHICAGO – A group of protesters is claiming a small legal victory after announcing Wednesday that they’ve reached a tentative agreement with the City of Chicago on a route that will allow them to march on Michigan Avenue to Grant Park on the Sunday before the Democratic National Convention.

With less than two months leading up to the DNC, protest groups remain entangled in legal battles with the City of Chicago claiming their protest permits were unjustly denied.

“Their opening stance was frankly absurd. It’s important that we got to this point, (but) it’s absurd that it took a federal lawsuit,” Andy Thayer told NBC 5 Investigates during an interview Wednesday.

Thayer is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the group Borders Outside of Unjust Laws.

“We are two-thirds of the way through the eight-and-a-half-month process when we were applied for a permit on the first day we could and the city dragged it out to this point. That’s unfortunate from an administration that says it’s progressive," he said.

In court filings, Thayer’s group initially proposed marching down Michigan Avenue from the Water Tower Park – and later on State Street.

But even with proposed alternative routes, the lawsuit alleges that the city said it would require “several hundred” additional police officers to effectively provide security.

Thayer says the legal wranglings over security only fan the flames of fear and distract from their message.

“LGBTQ people are being attacked around the country; we’ve seen loss of constitution right to an abortion and we are seeing ongoing bombardment in Gaza,” he said.

According to Thayer and his attorneys, the newly agreed upon route begins on Michigan Avenue at Wacker Drive and continues south with protesters ending their march at the General John Logan statue at Grant Park.

“Which was the scene of an important - shall we say - confrontation at the 1968 Democratic National Convention,” Thayer said.

NBC 5 Investigates reached out to the city’s law department for comment – but a spokeswoman offered a brief statement.

“This matter continues to be the subject of ongoing litigation, and the City has no comment," it read.

The agreed upon protest route doesn’t end Thayer’s lawsuit.

The group is still challenging the city’s ordinances that could create an additional security perimeter beyond the one established by the U.S. Secret Service, which is expected to announce the security perimeter around the United Center next month.

Thayer says he would not rule out the possibility that groups will converge on the DNC with or without a permit.

A separate group of protesters appeared in federal court Tuesday with their attorneys raising similar concerns after their permit was denied to gather in Union Park. Attorneys for those protesters want to depose members of the U.S. Secret Service about that security perimeter.

Contact Us