1.) What is the G8 and NATO Summit?
The G-8, or Group of Eight, consists of the world’s leading industrialized nations: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Russia. The G8 Summit is a gathering of the leaders of these countries to discuss global issues ranging from the state of a globalized economy to countering terrorism on a multi-national level.
This is different than NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the NATO Summit. The NATO Summit is traditionally held in Washington D.C. and consists of 27 countries in a partnership to sustain global security.
2.) Why Chicago?
Taking place May 19-21 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed for the G8 Summit to take place in Chicago to further establish it as a ‘world class city‘ and further promote the city’s tourism flow, a multi-billion dollar industry. As the G8 and NATO Summits are surrounded by controversy and heavily protested, oftentimes violently, Rahm Emanuel proactively enacted two anti-protest ordinances for the city. The ordinances impede on First Amendment rights by imposing strict regulations on protests, including a $1 million insurance coverage for a parade permit and up to $1000 in fines for anyone in violation. The ordinances Rahm Emanuel passed also allow the “deputizing of law enforcement” as the superintendent of police sees fit. This means not only city and state police, but also private security groups such as Blackwater can get involved at the drop of a hat.
3.) It is illegal for citizens to film, videotape, or record police officers in Illinois.
According to the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, a video recording of law enforcement officials is a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. To put this in perspective, other Class 1 felonies in the great state of Illinois consist of sexual assault, vehicular hijacking, and second degree murder. This ridiculously archaic law took effect in 1961, just a few years before Richard Nixon’s watergate scandal and just a few years after the invention any practical handheld video camera. Good timing. And yes, Illinois was just as corrupt even back then… surprised? Not really. The only thing more ridiculous than this law is the fact that it’s still being enforced. This lesser-known law is going to hit the spotlight as thousands of journalists from around the world attend the G8 summit. There is a push and already a bill in motion to modify this law to allow the documentation of police officers as they are doing their jobs, “I don’t believe there is an expectation of privacy for public officials on public property doing public duties,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook.
4.) It will get violent
Rioters come from all over the world to ‘occupy’ and protest these summits. And these aren’t the peaceful Occupy Chicago, ‘I’m-going-to-stand-on-this-corner-with-a-picket-sign protesters’ these are the malotov-cocktail, police-car-tipping, window-smashing protesters. They make their living out of rioting, suing police officers in every city they go to. Chicago is already giving police officers special training programs to deal with the crowd. Jerry Roper, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president is advising businesses in the loop and downtown to have a 24-hour security team, invest in shatterproof glass, and encourage employees to work at home during the Summit.
5.) It will get really violent
I’m not even going to elaborate or exaggerate. Here’s some pictures and videos from previous G8 Summits and world leader meetings:
I tried to cover a lot here, and there is still a lot to be covered. And as the dates get closer, I’m sure there is a lot that’s going to change. Follow the blog/facebook/twitter and stay tuned for updates:
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