CHICAGO — Protesters chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight! Housing is a human right!” marched in Chicago Wednesday using the upcoming NATO summit as an opportunity to draw attention to the US foreclosure crisis.
Thousands of protesters are expected to descend upon Chicago as the leaders of 50 countries gather for a NATO summit on Sunday and Monday.
“Why can’t I live at Citibank, huh?” Loren Taylor said as he sat on an armchair and rug laid out in front of a Citibank branch in the heart of Chicago’s financial district.
“They’re kicking me out of my home, why can’t I just move in here?”
Police wearing bicycle helmets and bright yellow jackets used their bicycles as subtle barricades to keep the protesters on the sidewalk as they marched to the courthouse where foreclosures are processed.
Fears that the protests could turn violent have put the city on edge, with some downtown businesses even telling office workers to ditch their suits and ties and dress down to avoid being hassled or targeted on the streets.
Police and protest organizers have vowed that there will be no repeat of the trouble that erupted at events such as G20 summits in London and Toronto or the riots which scarred Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The decision to move the G8 summit — set for Friday and Saturday — from Chicago to Camp David is expected to lessen the intensity of demonstrations in President Barack Obama’s adoptive home town.
Several rallies held so far have been peaceful, although four protesters were arrested Tuesday at a rowdy rally outside a Chicago immigration court.
Eight protesters were charged with trespassing after they refused to leave the Chicago office tower which houses Obama’s campaign headquarters.