Though the NATO summit won't officially begin until later this week, police have already ramped up their presence in downtown Chicago and, on Monday morning, they made a number of arrests at President Obama's campaign headquarters.
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, the Chicago Tribune reports. Police said the arrested demonstrators would likely be charged with criminal trespass.
The group was organized by the Catholic Worker movement and, according to Fox Chicago, 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."
"We see NATO as an egregious act of violence and oppression. As Catholics, we believe in the works of mercy, that it is important to build community," protester Jerica Arntz told ABC Chicago.
Meanwhile, NBC Chicago reports that Chicago police vehicles were "seen on nearly every corner" of Michigan Avenue downtown Sunday.
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, ABC Chicago reports. Vehicles that had remained on the street Sunday morning were towed.
More road closures and parking restrictions, of course, will follow in the coming days as part of the Secret Service's security plan, which will include intermittent 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 pulled -- or "modified" -- their permit for a rally at Daley Plaza, the union has since 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 continued 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, CBS Chicago reports. Some businesses are also taking extra precautions, such as reinforcing their windows.
Many Anti-NATO protesters have already arrived in town, including many who took part in the two-day "The People's Summit" on the city's South Side over the weekend. The group discussed their messages and tactics for the upcoming downtown rallies around the summit, the Associated Press reports, and emphasized their plans to keep demonstrations peaceful.
Chicago: Catch a battle gear-clad federal agent near your go-to Starbucks spot? Overhear someone chattering about what "they [said] back in '68?" Send us your NATO-related photos, tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your news to #natochicago.
Check out some of the developments that have preceded the NATO summit's arrival in Chicago:
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