May Day to Offer NATO Protest Preview?

With 75 organizations taking part in the workers' rights march, Tuesday's protest could be larger than in recent years

UPDATE: Protests Peaceful; No Arrests

Tuesday's May Day march could give Chicagoans a glimpse as to how protesters will be handled during next month's NATO Summit.

With 75 organizations taking part in the workers' rights march, Tuesday's protest could be larger than in recent years. The protest will follow the route of the historic 100,000-strong immigration march six years ago and add more issues: the economy, labor and war.

"As immigrants, we see NATO of one of the big [entities] responsible for immigration worldwide: displacement, refugees and immigration due to poverty and war," said Jorge Mujica, one of the organizers of Tuesday's march.

Protesters plan to assemble at 10 a.m. at LaSalle and Jackson and later march near the banks they say misused bailout funds. Another assembly will take place at noon at Union Park before departing for Federal Plaza.

Chase Bank and Bank of America are along the route protesters will take in Chicago on Tuesday. A Bank of America spokesman said she expects the day to be business as usual, but said said that "with any disruptive event" a bank manager could close the facility temporarily "to ensure a safe environment for our customers and employees."

Signs of precautions and extra security were already visible Monday afternoon near the Dirksen Federal Building complex.

In New York, officials aniticipate bridge and tunnel blockades. Seattle's mayor has urged downtown businesses to prepare for possible vandalism and violence. In Chicago, the Haymarket statue reminds how long the marches have fought for change.

And since the NATO Summit is around the corner, organizers are worried that they're protest could turn into a security training exercise for those getting ready to handles NATO protesters.

"We have some concern that the security forces might overwhelm the demonstration tomorrow in order to kind of terrify people or to encourage people to participate in the NATO protest," said Shaun Harkin, a May Day 2012 protest organizer.

Officials declined to comment on Tuesday's protest, pivoting their remarks to an economic report outlining the financial benefits the city will see from the meeting of international leaders

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