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  • (Semi) Live Blogging NATO Protests in Chicago

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on May 19th, 2012 (All posts by )

    It has been quiet but tense here in Chicago awaiting the NATO protests now that the G8 is being held at Camp David. There hasn’t been a lot of action but the police presence is heavy.

    Here is a view of the Boeing HQ that has been boarded up with fences setup. I think that our Mayor didn’t approve of this because he wants to see “business as usual” rather than everyone hunkering down for a riot but there will be some sort of protest here on Monday due to Boeing’s role as a defense supplier for NATO (or whatever the “rationale” is for the protestors).

    I was driving back to Chicago from Champaign (located in the middle of the state) last weekend when I saw boats exactly like this (with the red Coast Guard logo on the side of them) coming north on I-57 on the back of a truck. I did not see the machine gun in front, however. These boats are patrolling the Chicago River and a couple of times I saw the machine gun up front manned. It would be interesting to determine what you’d do with a heavy machine gun in a crowd control situation, but that likely is for a more formal threat to NATO.

    Helicopters are overhead all day long and you can hear the droning of their propellers. That building next to them was (using CGI) part of the Transformers movie – it was split in half I think.

    When the Bulls were winning championships the police stationed cars in groups “waiting to roll” to the scene of the disturbance (if it occurs). Here are a bunch of cars waiting in River North. They were all gone later.

    At night I walked along Michigan avenue and there were many less tourists than normal given that it was a beautiful May Friday night. I have been receiving promotions from local restaurants trying to drum up business and I’ve taken advantage of that as well.

    Cross posted at LITGM


    11 Responses to “(Semi) Live Blogging NATO Protests in Chicago”

    1. pst314 Says:

      “Here is a view of the Boeing HQ that has been boarded up with fences setup.”

      There were signs announcing that the area would be closed off for the summer for a reconstruction of that section of riverfront. I don’t know if that’s true of just a cover story for blocking protester access.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I was driving back from Tucson on I-8 Monday and saw similar boats on trucks heading east. I wonder if they were on the way to Chicago ? They are called “Defenders” and are made in New Zealand. My son used to sell them and assemble them.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      I wonder if the mg is real on the Coast Guard vessel. Would they actually fire that thing (looks like a ma deuce) from the Chicago River into a crowd? I think not. If it is real, I imagine the only use for it would be against a rogue vessel that may try to go through the lock, into the River and next to another building on a suicide mission of some sort, i.e. to blow up. Or maybe a suicide mission to Navy Pier if packed with people. Just a few thoughts I hope don’t come true.

    4. TM Lutas Says:

      Chicago downtown is double decked, that is to say that when you’re walking next to the river, at “ground level” you’re not actually on the ground but a story above. The machine guns would be useful for taking out a boat packed with explosives and heading towards a bridge, or engaging anybody on the actual ground level streets directly adjoining the river. Anything else would do more collateral damage to floors 2-6 of buildings behind the crowd than damage of the crowd.

      May the protesters show some good sense and be nonviolent.

    5. morgan Says:

      The machine gun on the Coast Guard boat is a regular feature on the same type of boats that patrol up and down the Potomac in DC. They are real, not fakes.

    6. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “I wonder if the mg is real on the Coast Guard vessel.”

      This is not a wager I would lay.

    7. Nicholas Says:

      That doesn’t look like a heavy machine gun to me. This is what an M2 looks like:

      The weapon on the boat looks more like an M240 7.62mm medium machine gun (or some variant) on a mount, with an ammo box.

    8. Dan from Madison Says:

      @Nicholas – you are right. I should have embiggened that photo before I spouted off or I wouldn’t have misidentified it so badly.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      This is what an M2 looks like

      Don’t let Rahm Emmanuel know.

    10. James Bennett Says:

      I remember a few years ago when they started using those boats in Great Lakes ports they had an exchange of notes with Canada where they agreed that they would not be considered “armed vessels” for the purposes of the Rush-Bagot Treaty, which disarms the Great Lakes.

    11. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      I think that our Mayor didn’t approve of this because he wants to see “business as usual” rather than everyone hunkering down for a riot…

      Seriously? Really, seriously? Downtown buildings have been preparing for this for weeks, no, months. We’ve had two different meetings with our building’s security staff to discuss preparation. Windows are being covered with plastic sheeting that prevent glass shattering. Most of the people I know who work downtown are telecommuting Friday and Monday. I have relatives who live by McCormick Place who aren’t leaving their condos until this all blows over.

      Seriously, Rahm Emanuel, “business as usual”? Forgive my French, but screw you and the Shetland pony you rode in on.