Aldermen set to consider NATO, G-8 ordinances

January 17, 2012

Protestors say they'll be at Chicago's City Hall Tuesday morning before aldermen are set to consider tougher security measures ahead of this spring's NATO and G-8 summits.

The proposals from Mayor Rahm Emanuel would tighten security and give the city some new powers. Chicago police could deputize out-of-state law enforcement, and the mayor could spend some money for the summits without City Council approval.

Emanuel softened some provisions protesters and aldermen complained were too restrictive. He had wanted to cut down the amount of time protesters were allowed to march by fifteen minutes. And the mayor also cut a provision that would have required marches to have one "parade marshal" for every 100 protestors - a measure activists said would be too onerous.

Some protest groups maintain the mayor's ordinances will stifle their free speech rights. But the changes were enough to win support from aldermen like Scott Waguespack, from the city's 32nd Ward.

"In general, I think no one's gonna have a problem protesting," Waguespack said.

But 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno is still opposing some other provisions, including shortened hours at city parks and beaches, and dramatically higher fines for resisting arrest that Moreno said will only antagonize protestors.

"Obviously, our country was founded on protest, it was founded on freedom of speech," said Moreno, who has been arrested himself during protests against U.S. immigration policy. "And I just say, if you're gonna err on one side or the other, you have to err on the side of allowing people to express themselves."

Moreno said he could get behind Emanuel's proposed changes to the city parade ordinance that governs protests and marches. But he said Monday he could not vote for other changes.

If committees sign off on the mayor's proposals on Tuesday, the full City Council could vote on them Wednesday.

Categories