NATO Summit protests to kick off Saturday

April 7, 2012 8:57:18 AM PDT
The Good Friday Walk for Justice is a tradition now in its 32nd year. In the crowd were faces of long-time activists whose agenda for social change and economic equality is arguably getting more attention with NATO coming to town.

Some of the people will be involved in gatherings in 13 Chicago neighborhoods Saturday to talk issues from foreclosure to the impact of genocide.

Then they will gather downtown and walk to Butler Field in Grant Park for what they're calling the kick off to Chicago Spring - a series of planned peaceful protests leading up to the arrival of NATO leaders. The Occupy Chicago movement has become the umbrella organizer.

"We're a movement that's been around for barely six months, but in that time we've changed the national conversation around the world," said Occupy Chicago's Rachel Perrotta.

As the NATO gathering draws closer, the focus of protestors will likely sharpen toward military involvement in Afghanistan, but for now, the causes are many - from urban agriculture to the ills of capitalism.

With the legal jousting over parade route permits on NATO weekend, tomorrow's walk will occur without permits.

"We believe the first amendment is our permit. We did not seek a permit. It's not a protest. It's a community event. And we don't anticipate any problems with the city or the police force."

Police say they too do not anticipate any issues. Organizers have been in touch with them to let them know their plans.

What has become an issue is crowd side but organizers say their planned events involve neighborhood groups that for the most part will not be heavy in numbers.