From United National Anti-War Coalition:
Please click on the link below to sign the ad to appear in the Chicago Sun Times in support of the right to protest at the NATO and G8 meetings in May. Some important developments have taken place in the past few days but the fight for our democratic rights continues.
Click here to donate for the ad. Donations will go through our regular UNAC donation process:
To add your name to the Sun Times Ad, please click here:
An important victory was scored in Chicago in the defense of the right to protest; in turn, a fresh attack was launched.
On December 12th, permits were granted to the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) for a parade route and tentatively for a rally location on May 19, 2012. CANG8 is mobilizing against the summits of NATO and the G8 occurring in Chicago that weekend.
This is only a partial victory because Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the same breath that the Secret Service could revoke the permits if they “designate specific security zones or areas…” that include the march route.
On top of this, ordinances designed to severely restrict First Amendment rights of speech and assembly were presented by Emanuel on December 14th. The stated target was to prepare to repress protestors during the summits of NATO and the G8. In response, CANG8 joined with Occupy Chicago, unions, community groups and civil libertarians to defend democratic rights and held a press conference to voice opposition to Emanuel’s ordinances. A video of the press conference is here:
On Wednesday, January 18th, the City Council adopted Emanuel’s “Sit Down and Shut Up” ordinance, but the protest movement had defeated a number of the worst features.
Today, we continue to be locked in a major legal and political battle with the City of Chicago and the federal government for the simple right to march and rally against the war and poverty agenda of the NATO/G8 summit meetings planned for May 19-21.
We need your name and generous financial contribution now to place the full-page advertisement that appears below in the Chicago Sun Times in the next few weeks. If you have not already done so, please add you name and contribution for the Sun Times ad, which appears below. Below the ad is also a list of some of the initial signers. While any financial contribution that you are able to make now is appreciated, we hope that you can manage a contribution in the range of $25 – $100 to help pay for the ad.
Again, please send your contribution today and join us in this nationally coordinated effort to obtain formal permits to exercise our Constitutional right to free speech and assembly. No doubt the six months of violence-baiting, threats of mass arrests, militarization of the Chicago Police Force, Chicago officials’ extended refusal to grant CANG8 a simple permit, and the restrictions shoved through the city council have a single objective: to discourage the massive turnout that we are projecting in these times of never-ending wars and attacks on the very fabric of life of people across the globe.
We need to raise around $8,000 in a matter of weeks to cover the cost of the ad and related expenses.
Click here for a statement by Occupy Chicago and CANG8 on the Chicago anti-protest ordinance.
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS…
FREE SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY MUST NOT BE DENIED IN CHICAGO
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy, and Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security
We the undersigned wish to express our deep concern regarding attempts by the City of Chicago to suppress peaceful protests during the May 19-21, 2012 NATO and G8 summit meetings. Specifically Saturday, May 19 is the date when sizable numbers are expected to gather in Chicago to exercise their democratic rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Following an extraordinary – possibly unprecedented – delay of 20 weeks in responding to a request for written permits for a demonstration at Daley Plaza (118 N. Clark St.) on this date, a denial was received. While we have subsequently been notified by the Chicago Public Building Commission that permits* will be granted for Daley Plaza to still unspecified groups, the vague language of this response again raises serious questions as to the City’s intentions and especially so since our original application was filed the day immediately following the public announcement of the NATO/G8 meetings – almost six months ago. This is, frankly, not acceptable.
Rather than repeat the City’s past policies – which include the eviction of the celebrated Occupy Chicago encampment with numerous arrests – we would like the City to reverse course, welcome those attending protest events, and set a world standard for accountability, acceptance and respect for our guaranteed rights.
We greatly regret early positions reported in the Chicago Tribune on October 23, 2011 that the harsh crackdown on Occupy Chicago – in a clear violation of the constitutional right to free speech and peaceful assembly – was some sort of precedent for the City’s planned behavior next May.
Designating the NATO/G8 summits as a National Special Security Event (NSSE) does not give city and federal authorities the right to suspend the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment clearly protects the right to free speech and assembly.
Efforts to correct these wrongs should begin immediately by allowing Occupy Chicago to camp in a public area, followed by issuing the permits in a timely manner that will ensure an orderly, peaceful, family-friendly experience for the City of Chicago next May during the meetings of NATO and the G8.
In that spirit, we petition you to:
*cease and desist from all actions that limit the constitutional rights of protesters to free speech and assembly;
*grant the Coalition Against NATO/G-8 War and Poverty Agenda, without delay, permits for
*rallies and marches within sight and sound of the forthcoming summits; and
*cease making veiled threats of harsh treatment and arrest of those who are planning protests and those who are considering participation.
We live in troubled times where fundamental incursions on the right to assemble and peacefully protest inChicago are coupled with ominous threats to our constitutional rights in general. Perhaps the most disturbing is the National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress on Dec. 15, that grants the government the right to conduct secret and indefinite detentions without recourse to counsel and without charges presented in a court of law.
We look forward to a positive and specific response to this appeal. No one will benefit more than the City ofChicago itself. Once again, the whole world will be watching.
* Important note: On January 12, the Office of the Mayor finally announced that it was issuing the requested permits. However, three new threats immediately emerged. The mayor’s announcement also said that Homeland Security may implement plans that negate the granted permits, and it was revealed that plans were afoot to establish an “official protest area,” again in contradiction to the city’s granting of permits for Daley Plaza and the march. Finally, on January 18, the Emanuel administration succeeded in having the City Council pass a new ordinance limiting the right to peaceably assemble. For all these reasons, the demands cited above remain more urgent than ever.
Ramsey Clark, Human Rights Attorney, former U.S. Attorney General
Medea Benjamin, Founder CodePink
Mark Johnson, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Dr. Margaret Flowers, Congressional Fellow, Physicians for a National Health Program
Tom Hayden, Political activist
Bill Quigley, law professor Loyola University New Orleans
Kathy Kelly, Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Joe Lombardo and Marilyn Levin, Co-coordinators, United National Antiwar Coalition
Jules Lobel, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
Cynthia McKinney, Former U.S. Congress member
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition
Imam A. Abdul Baqui, Islamic Leadership Council of Metro N.Y.
Mike Ferner, Interim Executive director, Veterans for Peace
Coleen Rowley, Peace activists, former FBI agent and whistleblower
Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights
Dr. Agha Saed, National Chair, American Muslim Alliance
Lynne Stewart, Human Rights Attorney and Political Prisoner
Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait
Naomi Wolf, author
Ann Wright, Retired U.S. Colonel and Diplomat
Kevin Zeese, Antiwar leader
David Swanson, Author and founder of WarIsaCrime.org
Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center
Leah Bolger, Commander, U.S. Navy ret., Vice President, Veterans for Peace
Tom Burke, Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Steve Downs, Director & Co-founder, Project Salam
Shahid Buttar, Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Peter Erlinder, Chairperson, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
Alejandro Luis Molina, Co-coordinator, National Boricua Human Rights Network
Jan Susler, People’s Law Office, Chicago
Dave Zirin, Author People’s History of Sports in the U.S.
Andrew Coates, MD, Pres. Elect, Physicians for a National Health Plan
Michael T. McPhearson, National Coordinator, United For Peace and Justice.
Quentin Young, MD, Healthcare Activist
(and hudreds of others)