Protestors Plan To Continue Demonstrations at NATO Summit

Posted on: 7:46 am, May 21, 2012, by

CHICAGO (CNN) — Protesters vowed to carry out disruptive demonstrations Monday in Chicago, a day after baton-wielding police clashed with demonstrators in a violent confrontation that left dozens injured just blocks from where NATO leaders were gathered.

Security was expected to be tight on the final day of the two-day NATO summit, which has played out against a backdrop of protests that has seen thousands taken to the street to protest everything from the war in Afghanistan to the economy.

Occupy Chicago, one of the groups that helped organize the demonstrations, took to social media to urge people to join in another planned demonstration at 10 a.m. ET on Monday.

Dozens were injured in a melee Sunday that came at the end of a largely, peaceful demonstration that began in Chicago’s Grant Park, where President Barack Obama delivered his presidential acceptance speech in 2008.

The clashes began at the end of the march, just blocks from the NATO summit, after a group of protesters refused police orders to disperse and began physically pushing against a line of police officers clad in riot gear.

A video from CNN affiliate WLS showed protesters, some with bloodied faces, struggling against the officers, some of whom used their batons to strike the demonstrators.

The confrontation led to a two-hour standoff between police and protesters before it broke up, with demonstrators heading toward the Chicago Art Institute where First Lady Michelle Obama was reportedly set to host a dinner.

While some protesters held a sit-in near the institute, others took to the streets to block traffic.

Chicago Police and Occupy Chicago both reported injuries in their ranks during the clashes earlier in the day.

At least 45 people were arrested Sunday and four officers were taken to the hospital with injuries, said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. One officer had been stabbed in the leg, he said.

“They rallied. They charged the cops and they assaulted the officers,” McCarthy said. “The finger should be pointed at the people who assaulted the cops.”

McCarthy accused some protesters of splashing red paint on themselves to make it look like they had been wounded.

Protesters accused police of brutality, taking to Twitter with photos purporting to show bloody and beaten protesters.

“The police have several demonstrators detained behind their lines, calling for medics. Bloodied protesters being dragged out of sight now,” Occupy Chicago wrote on its Twitter page earlier in the day.

Occupy Chicago said dozens were injured in the clashes, though less than a dozen protesters were treated at area hospitals, officials said.

The protest groups said more than 100 people were detained by police.

“Now almost 100 strong here,” tweeted one Occupy protester, who claims to have been detained.

A city official, who was not authorized to talk to the media on police matters, told CNN that confrontation began when about 75 to 100 protesters refused to leave the area after being told to disperse.

They threw bottles and other objects at police, the official said.

CNN’s Jim Spellman, Ted Rowlands, Paul Vercammon, Bill Kirkos and Katherine Wojtecki, contributed to this report.

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