The Chicago City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved two ordinances Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced to crack down on protests expected during the upcoming NATO and G8 summits in the city.
An ordinance tightening rules facing parade organizers was approved 45-4 by the council, while a second ordinance increasing the fine for protesters accused of resisting arrest and giving the mayor blanket spending authority, was approved 41-5, the Chicago Tribune reports.
After the measures were approved, the mayor said he liked "learning from things," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"I listen to people," Emanuel said, according to the Sun-Times. "I told you guys early on we're not gonna have my way or the highway. I don't think you make progress that way. I listened to people and we made the changes necessary."
The vote took place after a spirited group estimated by NBC Chicago between 80 and 100 people were removed from the hallway outside where the vote took place after they chanted "Let us in!" and "We vote no!" Other protesters reportedly interrupted the council at one point and had to be escorted out of the meeting.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) was one of the four aldermen who voted against the parade ordinance changes. According to the Tribune, Hairston "still [had] concerns about freedom of expression and civil liberties." Ald. Joe Moore (49th), meanwhile, lauded the mayor for softening some of the proposals contained in the ordinances in response to activists' various concerns.
Ald. Ed Burke (14th), referencing his time serving as a city cop in 1968, described how the department was "overworked and over-stressed," NBC reports.
The ordinances increase a number of fines and fees, including an increase of the parade permit fee and an increased fine for violating parade rules from $50 to $200. The ordinances also give the Chicago police chief the power to deputize trained law enforcement officers from other states to help with security, close public parks two hours longer than usual each day, and speed up certain procurement requirements to deal with last-minute purchasing needs.
Andy Thayer, a prominent protest organizer and HuffPost blogger, previously told the Sun-Times that "all bets are off" if the council approves the mayor's proposals.
"If the federal government decides to nix the permit we've already received, all bets are off," Thayer continued. "Why should people respect the law if the law does not respect them?"
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, University of Chicago Economist Allen Sanderson said the summits could be a "potential disaster" for the city financially.
"Again, I hope it's not. I hope things go really well and the city gets a real positive spin from it, but if you were betting in Las Vegas, you'd bet that's not going to be the outcome," Sanderson told the station, adding that battles between police and protesters could tarnish the city's reputation, much like they did during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.