According to the Chicago Sun-Times, during the NATO and G-8 summits this spring, a major security perimeter will take place downtown and prohibit motorist access to certain streets. Both summits will be expecting high-profile leaders, including President Barack Obama, and the lockdown of the downtown area will be led by the U.S. Secret Service.
Ultimately, cutting off areas of downtown is a step to boost security, especially since Mayor Rahm Emanuel is estimating that the summits will draw thousands of protesters. With the news of this step towards tighter security, here are some facts about the summits and the debates they have sparked in the Windy City:
* The Chicago Tribune reported that President Obama announced Chicago as the location for the NATO and G-8 summits last June in a speech that also detailed the timeline for pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
* Additionally, this will be the first time the NATO summit has been held in any other U.S. city besides Washington D.C. and the meeting will specifically focus on Afghan war policies.
* With such a large amount of pressure on his shoulders, Mayor Emanuel has taken certain efforts to suppress possible violent protests he is expecting to come with the two summits, reported CBS Local.
* In December, the mayor proposed two new permanent ordinances that drastically increase the cost of fines, from a $25-$500 to $200-$1000, for anyone person resisting police, as well as putting a two-hour limit on demonstrations.
* Also last month, according to NBC Chicago, city officials agreed to allow protests to take place in Daley Plaza during the duration of the meetings in late May.
* At first, the city's public building commission denied the application of anti-war group the Coalition against NATO/G-8 War and Poverty Agenda, which requested to rally at Daley Plaza.
* The Huffington Post added that an activist group associated with Occupy Chicago has launched a campaign against the mayor's ordinances and sent notifications to the city's 50 aldermen expressing their concerns.
* Both summits are being organized by the U.S. government and the Department of Homeland Security has granted Chicago about $55 million to prepare for the events.
* Aldermen have expressed concern over the mayor's plans for security, including Ald. Michele Smith (43rd Ward), who the restrictions on protests as suppressing freedom of speech, reported ABC News.
* Two Chicago city council committees are set to vote on ordinance restrictions next week as aldermen continue to discuss the results of the summits, such as changes in city revenue during the duration and the proposed ordinances.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.