NATO summit protest in Chicago relatively calm (VIDEO)


National Nurses United members protest in Chicago on May 18, 2012. This was the fifth day of protests in what is expected to be a full week of demonstrations as the city prepares to host the NATO Summit next week.


Scott Olson

NATO protests in Chicago remained relatively calm today despite hundreds of Robin Hood-types marching through the streets demanding a tax on the rich.

Police reported just one arrest as demonstrations continued ahead of Sunday and Monday’s summit meeting, according to Agence France-Presse.

“So far it’s been very peaceful,” Chicago police Officer John Mirabelli told AFP.

Thousands of activists blocked streets and clogged downtown today chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

Members of the largest nurses union in the US – National Nurses United – marched demanding a tax on stock transactions to support health care.

They wore green T-shirts and red masks as they danced and sang.

“The money that’s spent on militarization and war these days compared to social services, health care and education is so wrong,” Craig Nisbet, a 27-year-old nurse from Toronto, told AFP.

The situation turned tense when a group of bandana-wearing protesters split from the nurses, The Associated Press said.

More from GlobalPost: Rights groups converge on Chicago for NATO summit

That group tried to entice police into violence, witnesses said, but the officers remained calm.

Some hurled insults at police, other made lots of noise, but police said they arrested just one man for aggravated battery of an officer.

“The police are handling themselves very well,” freelance videographer Jennifer Lacy told the AP. “It seems like they have it all organized, and it doesn't seem their tempers are going to be easily flared. I think they're mindful we're going to be on the world stage.”

The NATO summit begins on Sunday.

Thousands more are expected in Chicago, and police are hoping to avoid riots that occurred at similar summits in Toronto and London.

Demonstrators didn’t discriminate in Chicago today, calling for the end of everything from nuclear power to war to fossil fuels to banks.

President Barack Obama will welcome as many as 60 world leaders to his hometown on Sunday, Reuters reported.

The G8 summit that started today was scheduled for Chicago, but was moved to Camp David to avoid triggering any violence.

More from GlobalPost: Demonstrators in Chicago denounce foreclosure crisis