By Mary Wisniewski and James B. Kelleher
CHICAGO May 21 Anti-war protests in Chicago
dwindled on Monday to a few hundred people at the headquarters
of U.S. defense contractor Boeing and President Barack Obama's
re-election headquarters as the two-day summit of the NATO
military alliance ended.
Between 200 and 300 demonstrators, some throwing paper
planes, gathered in a festive atmosphere at airplane maker
Boeing. The turnout was a fraction of the thousands who
attended a march on Sunday where dozens were arrested and a
number of protesters and police injured during fierce clashes.
Attendance at a week of anti-NATO demonstrations was less
than organizers expected. Only two of the rallies drew numbers
into the thousands and one of those relied heavily on hundreds
of nurses visiting for a convention.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said arrests
for the week were roughly 93 people, including some 45 people
during the clashes on Sunday.
A lawyers' group defending the protesters said more than 60
were arrested on Sunday and two dozen injured by police using
batons on demonstrators who had been ordered to leave.
Occupy Chicago, the local chapter of the loose-knit
anti-Wall Street Occupy movement, had promised to shut down
Boeing headquarters on Monday, which it called "NATO's war
"There's absolutely nothing that could happen in the streets
at a protest that holds a candle to the death and destruction
caused by NATO to families and communities all around the
world," said Rachel Perrotta of Occupy Chicago.
The demonstrators gathered only briefly outside Boeing's
building and then moved on.
They then marched to Obama's re-election headquarters in a
41-story office building near the city's lakefront where some
sang and danced and others called upon the Democratic incumbent
to return to his roots as a community organizer.
A protester with a megaphone told the crowd in front of the
Obama headquarters: "What I would like to say to Barack Obama is
that ... 20 years ago, you would have been on the streets with
us ... You are a traitor."
Asked about the demonstrations at a news conference
concluding the NATO summit, Obama said they had a right to
assemble and express their views.
He praised the Chicago police, saying: "Chicago's finest did
a great job under significant pressure and a lot of scrutiny."
Some downtown Chicago businesses remained closed on Monday.