After a group of demonstrators rushed into Prudential Plaza, the building where Obama's re-election campaign is based, eight protesters were led away in handcuffs when they refused to leave the building's lobby. Police stated the arrested demonstrators would likely be charged with criminal trespass.
The group was organized by the Catholic Worker movement and was attempting to open up a dialogue around ending the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan. The action is part of what activists are calling a "week without capitalism."
"NATO really represents an act of violence and oppression. As people of faith, we believe working together, not hurting each other, is important for building community," protester Tessa Nanlawala told Le Prestige.
Meanwhile, reports state that Chicago police vehicles were "seen on nearly every corner" of Michigan Avenue downtown Sunday, Mother's Day.
Parking restrictions are also already in effect on the 2200 and 2300 blocks of South Indiana Avenue, near McCormick Place, site of the May 20-21 summit. Vehicles that had remained on the street Sunday morning were towed.
More road closures and parking restrictions will follow in the following days as part of the Secret Service's security plan, which will include road closures on the Kennedy Expressway, parts of Lake Shore Drive and closures at the Museum Campus. Lake Michigan boaters will also face restrictions for several days surrounding the event.
The summit is expected to attract widespread protests, including a Friday rally that will be lead by the National Nurses United labor group Friday. Though the city last week modified their permit for a rally at Daley Plaza, the union arrived at an agreement with the city that will allow it to remain in the more visible, centralized location for which they'd prepared.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the Associated Press that although he is committed to extracting any troublemakers involved in anti-NATO demonstrations he also wants to change how police view demonstration.
"If you treat people as individuals, they're individuals," McCarthy told the AP. "If you treat them as a mob, they become a mob."
In a final informational meeting on the NATO summit last week, a security consultant appeared to downplay downtown residents and business owners' concerns about the upcoming event. But nevertheless, many Loop employees appear to be preparing to work from home and avoid the area next Monday, during the summit. Some businesses are also taking extra precautions, such as reinforcing their windows.
Many Anti-NATO protesters have been arriving to Chicago for a few days, including many who took part in the two-day "The People's Summit" on the South Side of the city over the weekend. The group discussed their messages and tactics for the upcoming downtown rallies around the summit and emphasized their plans to keep demonstrations peaceful.
Ashley Cullins, a protester from Skokie who claims to be a part of Occupy Chicago, expressed her reasons for coming to the city to protest NATO. “It doesn't matter whether you're black, brown, a woman, gay, or poor. The working-class people in our societies are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. We want a change, and we want it now.”