Chicago city officials comment on the “Militarized Red Zone” being set up in their city 3 weeks in advance of the NATO summit.
When asked if City Officials were blind sided by the Fed’s move, the Mayor’s office insists that it was a “security decision they were not involved in”.
Andy Thayer, a spokesman for the Coalition Against NATO-G-8, accused the federal government of creating the Red Zone to send a “message of intimidation” to protesters expected to descend on Chicago for the summit.
“It’s reminiscent of what happened prior to the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue, when the city got all Rambo-ed up as a way of scaring people from exercising their First Amendment rights,” Thayer said.
“If security measures are necessary, there are ways to go about it rather than getting hyper-militarized in a very visible way. It does nothing to stop any violence, but it does send a message of intimidation. This is a political show. It’s not about security.”
Despite the unsettling image of uniformed federal agents on the streets of Chicago, Thayer said his message to protesters is the same as it was after Mayor Rahm Emanuel rammed through his “sit-down-and-shut-up” ordinance to reign in the demonstrators.
“Don’t allow the city or the feds to intimidate you from exercising your freedom. It’s your right to be on the streets of Chicago on May 20,” Thayer said.
In fact, Thayer said it’s all the more reason to protest, adding, “If people are resentful of the militarization of our streets, just think how people in 130 countries around the world feel about U.S. troops in their countries.”