NATO protesters in court over permit

March 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM
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CHICAGO, March 27 (UPI) -- Organizers of a protest during the upcoming NATO summit appealed Chicago's decision to deny them a permit Tuesday.

Chicago officials say policing a large protest on May 20 will be too great a strain on the city's resources, WGN Radio reported. The Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda says the city's decision violates the group's First Amendment rights.

The coalition will be allowed to use Grant Park, which is about a mile from where NATO leaders will be meeting.

"There are people coming from around the United States and around the world to raise their voices against NATO and the war makers, as well as the NATO and G8 agenda," Joe Iosbaker, a member of the group, said at a news conference before the court hearing began.

Coalition leaders say there will be a large march on May 20 even without a permit. But they say they are inviting arrest if they do not have a permit.

President Obama moved the Group of 8 meeting from Chicago to the presidential retreat in Maryland, Camp David. The NATO meeting is expected to draw as many as 50 prime ministers and heads of state and 5,000 other officials.

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