Cops Block Protesters from Obama HQ - NBC Chicago

Complete coverage of the Chicago NATO Summit

Cops Block Protesters from Obama HQ

Protesters laid down and "played dead" in front of the company's Chicago headquarters

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    As there had been throughout the weekend, Monday's march was one that didn't have a permit. But police Supt. Garry McCarthy and his crew took it all in stride. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Monday, May 21, 2012)

    Occupy protesters gathered outside Boeing's Chicago headquarters Monday morning during the last day of the NATO summit. But they didn't stay long. The group moved on after about two hours.

    This group on protesters, which was much smaller than the estimated 2,000 Sunday in Grant Park, laid down on the street and "played dead," while a bugle played Taps. In preparation of the action, Boeing directed employees to stay at home from work, and installed security in front of the building.

    "Boeing is the worst of the worst of the 1 percent," said Andy Thayer of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda.

    Police made at least one arrest as protesters moved east on Washington, and Prudential Plaza officials alerted employees the group was headed across the Loop to their building.

    "Please be advised that the protesters from demonstration that started at the Boeing Building in the West Loop earlier today are planning to make their way east bound towards Prudential Plaza," a note to employees said.

    Police blocked protesters from turning south on Clark from Washington, but the group eventually made it to Prudential Plaza, where they sat down and chanted, "Obama listen, stop your corporate system!"

    Chicago Police oversaw the rally dressed in riot gear.

    Blaise Sewell from Occupy Chicago said the group wanted to celebrate in the street because Boeing chose to shut itself down.

    But in a statement Boeing said the company remained open.  "While we’re hopeful that any protests will be lawful and peaceful, we don’t want to put any of our employees at risk, and we’re prepared to protect our people and property appropriately," said John Dern, vice president of public relations.

    Hours before protests were scheduled to begin, a row of police cars were parked along the building and street-side windows were boarded up.
    "As for what’s been said about the company, it’s the protestors right to say just about anything they want," Dern said. "From our perspective, I think our people would say that we’re proud to do whatever we can to protect the men and women serving and protecting our country. Their job is not an easy one."

    During Sunday protests around the NATO Summit, a Chicago police officer suffered a stab wound to the leg and three others were injured. In total 45 protesters were arrested.

    A local security and risk management firm called the police response "very professional."

    "That was a brave, measured, very professional effort we saw yesterday," said Tom Kasza from Hillard Heintze security. "We saw incredible footage of attempted breach of the front line toward McCormick Place, and the police took it head on with very limited arrests, a lot of restraint."

    Kasza said just as Chicago has seen multiple non-permitted protests over the past three days, Monday's rally has the potential to result in a similar clash of demonstrators and police. But authorities are prepared. 

    "The police have put together a good plan and they really implemented a fast response, very strategic arrests."