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International Chicago Tue Jan 17 2012
"If this ordinance passes, all bets are off," said longtime Chicago protester Andy Thayer.
Thayer was one of about 50 activists who gathered inside City Hall Tuesday morning to speak out against a proposed ordinance to enhance security and, according to some, suppress protesters at the G8/NATO summit in May.
The ordinance would impose more restrictions on demonstrators, keep public parks closed until 6am rather than 4am and allow the city to deputize out of state security personnel to secure the downtown area during the summit.
While the proposed fee increase for resisting arrest was taken off the table, many of the activists expressed concern about changes filing process for protest permits.
When filing for a permit, protest organizers would have to "describe each sign in particularity" or face a fine, said Jeff Frank from the National Lawyers Guild.
But that may not be the case, according to Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward.
"What we told everyone was, just put, 'signs, with poles,'" said Waguespack.
"To be fair, we do not anticipate using some of these ordinance changes," said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, assuring that the city would only deputize extra security if it was absolutely necessary.
Instead, the current plan is to extend neighborhood police shifts from eight to 12 hours, freeing up additional officers to patrol the downtown area while the federal government deals with security for attendees and venues of the international summit.
Any deputized officers would only be assigned to the summit and related protests. All changes proposed by this ordinance would expire July 31.