After the scheduled #noNATO march ended Sunday afternoon, May 20, a much-broadcast clash with police resulted in a fracture of the main protest group. Those who remained were almost all young, antiwar protesters who found themselves with several options: go home, head north or continue south to McCormick Place. The mix of around 150 local and visiting youth chose the latter and, around an hour later, wound up at the entrance to the NATO summit. They also met what appeared to be the most heavily equipped law enforcement officers in the area.
After brushing up against the gates and guards surrounding McCormick Place, the roaming protesters began a long march north from 26th Street (led in part by local activists). The group was forced into circuitous routes by police in an effort to detour them from Michigan Ave and other main lines to the South Loop, but, after being led west for several blocks, was eventually reunited with a second group of protesters near State and Jackson.
The following story picks up at that meeting. In the subsequent hours (around 7-11 PM), the NATO protest took to the open streets, in effect taking over downtown Chicago proper. On the way, they met with support from city residents and run-ins with police, eventually settling for a sit-in at the Art Institute, where Michelle Obama was holding a dinner for NATO spouses.
We think the march from the southern entrance of McCormick Place to the Art Institute was largely unreported (and, in some cases, poorly reported) by local mainstream media outlets. They missed out.