Rahm Emmanuel sees an opportunity and he is trying to grab it.
The NATO and the G-8 Conferences are coming to Chicago.
So, what to do?
Restrict protests and increase fines?
And instead of making these fines and restrictions temporary measures to address a possible issue with the upcoming events make it a blanket change for perpetuity.
Not even a month has passed since Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, requested that the Chicago city council enact what he termed “temporary” and “one-time only” anti-protest measures in advance of the overlapping NATO and G-8 summits that will be held in the city from May 15-22. During a press conference held on January 4, Emanuel claimed that he “misspoke,” and that many of the proposed antidemocratic ordinances will in fact be permanent.
Emanuel, who resigned as President Obama’s Chief of Staff in October 2010 to take the position of Chicago mayor, told reporters: “I made a mistake. Real simple, OK? I thought when I answered the question, I was answering the question about contracting, OK? So, if I made a mistake, I bear the responsibility.” According to Emanuel, only the powers given to the mayor for the purpose of concluding contracts in relation to the meetings will be temporary.
The new laws will impose drastically increased fines on protesters, increasing the maximum fine assessed against those found to be resisting arrest or “aiding escape” from $500 to $1,000. The maximum duration of demonstrations would also be reduced by 15 minutes, to two hours. In addition, public parks and beaches would “open” at 6 AM, two hours later than they do currently. Loud noise, music or amplified sound would only be legal between 8 AM and 10 PM.
So he tried to sneak in this permanent change like Rumsfeld claiming the Iraqi invasion was a temporary event.
Except he got caught.
Before filing the application, Thayer stood before a throng of television cameras, calling on Emanuel to reverse course on the proposed protest changes and aldermen to reject them before the Jan. 18 City Council meeting.
Don Rose, a political consultant who was an anti-Vietnam War spokesman during the troubled 1968 Democratic National Convention that led to riots, also spoke. He said tougher protest restrictions could trigger “acting out” by frustrated protestors seeking to peaceably demonstrate.
“I was one of the organizers when the whole world was watching, and I see some unfortunate parallels here,” Rose added, saying the “Battle of Michigan Avenue” was touched off in 1968 after marchers took to the sidewalks after being unable to get permits. “If they are serious about protecting first amendment rights, they will expedite and cooperate in giving the parade permits.”
The ACLU in Illinois thinks this is a bad idea too. Mostly because it will not address actual threats and instead is simply criminalizing protesting.
Though the proposal calls for stricter rules and costlier penalties, it does not seem poised to make much of an impact when it comes to deterring protesters, according to the report.
"It's clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions," Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, told the Tribune. "It's an unnecessary show of authority and something that will have very little meaning in terms of altering conduct."
There is something you can do. Contact the Chicago City Council and let them know they will be held accountable for voting against civil liberties.
The Chicago City Council is set to look at the ordinance during their next meeting on January 18.
So contact the city council and the aldermen to ensure that this restriction on the right to air grievances is not established:
City Council Division
Call this phone number for questions about:
• City Council Legislation
• City Council meeting and agendas
• City Council Journals of the Proceedings