CHICAGO, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Activists are planning massive protests in Chicago to coincide with a Group of Eight and North Atlantic Treaty Organization gatherings next spring.
More than 160 people representing 50 activist organizations met in Chicago Sunday to begin planning two demonstrations and a march for the week-long joint G8-NATO summit scheduled for mid-May, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Coordinators of the protest events expect to see crowds equal in size to that of the 2008 Republican National Convention protests.
"With the war [and] the global economy as they are, and the [U.S. presidential] election in full swing next spring, I think it will have the potential to be bigger than the protests in Minnesota," said Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator for the New York-based United National Anti-War Committee. "Those issues are not going to go away [by May] and Chicago is a larger city than some of the other places they've had these summits recently."
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the police force is preparing for the possibility of mass arrests during the summit.
Yet, local activists are insisting the demonstrations will be peaceful.
"What we want is a safe, permitted, legal protest," said Chicago activist Joe Iosbaker. "Something that parents feel safe bringing their babies in strollers to, and we want our voice to be heard."