Chicago, May 19: Over 2,000 people rallied in downtown Chicago on Friday to protest the policies of the G8 and NATO, organizations who protestors believe value wealth and war over the economic hardships currently faced by ordinary people.
The demonstration came on the first day of the G8 summit, and the day before more than 50 world leaders are scheduled to arrive in Chicago for the NATO summit on May 20-21.
Chicago police said between 2,400 and 2,800 demonstrators assembled in Chicago's Daley Plaza for a rally hosted by the group National Nurses United, followed by a few hundred of those participants marching from the protest site through the streets shouting slogans and waving signs.
For the rally, nurses from all over the United States and even some foreign countries gathered to protest the actions of the G8 and NATO, which demonstrators criticized for taking up heavy government funds while ordinary people struggle for access to good healthcare, education and suitable jobs.
“I don't think that there is any point at time, at which a military group can bring peace.
I don't think that military is ever a way to bring peace to anywhere,” one demonstrator said.
“Always when you find war, you take away something from the rights of the people. They have healthcare, education, and things like that, jobs,” another demonstrator said.
Chicago police stopped the group from passing north of the Chicago River, but demonstrators succeeded in breaking through a police bicycle barricade to walk directly on the street, temporarily halting traffic.
Despite the disruption, Chicago police said that there were no arrests and the demonstration remained peaceful.
The majority of Friday's protestors also plan on participating in a larger demonstration against NATO scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Starting in Chicago's Millennium Park and marching around five miles to the NATO summit at the McCormick Convention Center, the demonstration is likely to draw more than 3,000 people, organizers said.