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Chicago protest organizer a celebrity among protesters

Chicagoan Andy Thayer is almost like a celebrity among protesters. He’s been organizing the NATO protest today for months.

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Chicago protest organizer a celebrity among protesters

Protest organizer Andy Thayer makes sure speakers stay on schedule while rallying in Grant Park.

WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian

While thousands of protesters march through the streets of Chicago Sunday, at least one of them has been making sure things go off without a hitch.

Chicagoan Andy Thayer is almost like a celebrity among protesters. He spent months organizing Sunday’s NATO protest and, while walking around Grant Park, he was lucky to see five minutes go by without someone stopping him.

Thayer was conscious of the 90-degree heat.

“Folks, please make sure you get some water, there is free water over by the blue portapotties over here,” he yelled to his fellow protesters.

Moments later, he was literally running through the park to where the cops spent time fixing logistical issues. He’s on a first-name basis with the cops.

But Thayer said he feels weird about his new celebrity. For him and other organizers, it’s more about their message.

“We have the world’s one percent coming to Chicago and we want a strong message to them as possible, so we take that responsibility very, very seriously,” he said.

Thayer is already working on getting people together this summer for Chicago’s annual gay pride parade.

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