Pro-Palestinian protesters plan to march outside United Center during DNC without requesting permit

Thursday, May 16, 2024
Protesters plan to march outside DNC without requesting permit
Pro-Palestinian protesters now plan to march on the United Center during the 2024 Democratic National Convention without requesting a permit.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The decision to clear the DePaul encampment Thursday has prompted a change in tactics for pro-Palestinian groups planning to march on the Democratic National Convention in August.

The groups had planned to turn in a permit request at City Hall on Thursday, requesting to March on the DNC on several days during the convention.

However, after what they saw play out at DePaul, they have decided they won't even bother trying to get permits; they will just march.

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A coalition of pro-Palestinian groups defiantly gathered outside City Hall, with a small contingent of police standing by, to put Mayor Brandon Johnson on notice. They will not seek his permission to protest where they want when democrat delegates converge on Chicago in August for their convention at the United Center.

"We will go and we will protest without a permit because this is our enshrined right under the constitution," said Tarek Khalil with American Muslims for Palestine. "We have every right to do so."

The groups announced plans to gather at Union Park on several days during the convention, and then they will march the half mile to the United Center, or at least as close as they can get.

"Protest matters. Freedom of speech matters," said Mollie Hartenstein with Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago. "The DNC is the one chance to convince the national political establishment that they must do everything in their power to protect Palestinian lives."

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"You will have tens of thousands of people in the streets of Chicago that week," said Hatem Abudayyeh with U.S. Palestinian Community Network. "It will be the largest mobilization for Palestinian rights in the history of this city."

Those who live in the area and regularly use the park are taking it all in stride.

"If anything does happen, I wouldn't be surprised, but I hope nothing happens," Union Park neighbor Shannel Martinez said. "You know, for the peace of the civilians and everyone who lives around here."

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"I think that as long as it's peaceful and organized, I'm all for it," Union Park neighbor Irvin Gomez said.

The coalition insists it has its own security marshals to keep the peace during their demonstrations, and they say they don't need or even want Chicago police to protect them during the DNC

"So there's another slogan that we have in the movement, it's 'we keep us safe. Not the police,'" Abudayyeh said.

The Secret Service, in conjunction with Chicago police, is still finalizing plans for the security perimeter around the United Center. Those details are expected to be released in July.