On Tuesday, at least four arrests were made at an Occupy Chicago-led demonstration against U.S. immigration policy -- the latest arrests made in advance of the NATO summit, slated to begin Sunday in the Second City.
The Chicago Tribune reports that police warned some 100 protesters gathered for about an hour at a building at 525 W. Van Buren St. in the city's West Loop to vacate the premise or risk arrest. The building was targeted because it houses an immigration court.
The group, according to NBC Chicago, was calling for an end to deportations.
Protests ahead of NATO began Monday morning with a spirited demonstration organized by the Catholic Worker movement at President Obama's campaign headquarters in downtown Chicago. Eight anti-war protesters were arrested after they rushed into Prudential Plaza and refused to leave the building's lobby.
While it was long anticipated that the NATO summit would attract potentially thousands of out-of-town protesters to downtown Chicago, the city will also host numerous out-of-state police officers who are joining the Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police, suburban and federal forces in keeping an eye on the event.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., will each be sending contingents from their respective police departments. These police will serve as reinforcements to the local forces, though neither the CPD nor the State Police has disclosed the exact numbers of officers they'll be assigning to the summit.
"Out-of-state law enforcement agencies include Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Milwaukee and Philadelphia," Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton told the Sun-Times. "They’ll be providing support in the field. All out-of-state personnel will be working under the command of the Chicago Police Department and under [the city’s] rules and regulations."
Police were already highly visible Sunday evening along Michigan Avenue, as Chicago police vehicles were seen on most corners of the busy street. Of course, the downtown area will see a number of street closures and parking restrictions ramping up ahead of the summit as part of the Secret Service's security plan.
Chicago Police Superintendent told Fox Chicago Monday that the city is aiming to make fewer arrests than the 147 made during the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn., in 2009. McCarthy said they are not expecting protesters to be violent in a style similar to the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, but noted that the city is prepared.
"We're not anticipating we're going to be making a ton of arrests, however we are in fact ready for any eventuality that we come across, we're been planning for this for eleven months, we've been training for this for eleven months," McCarthy told Fox.
McCarthy further stated that he hoped to avoid the use of tear gas -- though police will have it in their arsenal should confrontation escalate.
"After eleven months, we've come to the event we've been preparing for," Pat Hunt, a CANG8 organizer, said in a statement. "NATO is not a defense organization: it's an alliance of nations engaged in warfare, we are a coalition opposed to war and so we will march on Sunday to where the NATO warmakers are holding their summit."
While some have feared widespread anti-NATO protests, others have laid down a welcome mat for those visiting the city to demonstrate against the May 19-20 summit at McCormick Place. WBEZ reports that many Chicagoans are clearing space for protesters to stay in spare bedrooms or in tents in their yards. Trinity Episcopal Church, located not far from the summit site, is just one area church that said they will welcome protesters to set up camp in their yard.
In other NATO news, South Shore train riders learned Monday that they should anticipate "rigorous" security checks and significant delays on Sunday and Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports. Riders will also be restricted when it comes to what they can take on board the trains, similar to what Metra commuters will be facing.
Ahead of the summit, some Loop employees appear to be preparing to work from home and avoid the area next Monday, during the summit and some businesses are also taking extra precautions. Still other employers are expecting a "typical day at the office" on Monday, as the Sun-Times reports.
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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