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A chaotic start to NATO Summit weekend

Jennifer Dimaano

Traffic fills a downtown street as people make their way home from work on October 31, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicagoans are expected to brace themselves for a long weekend ahead

Commencements for the well-anticipated NATO Summit weekend has Chicagoans strapped in for protests, commuter traffic, and armed security, everywhere!
It is expected that 26 CTA bus routes running near McCormick center will be affected. According to the Chicago Tribune the Metra is suppose to be packing tighter security restrictions—no backpacks, food and will be subject to checks.
For added security, Blackhawk helicopters have been spotted “flying drills snaked between skyscrapers” along with other military aircrafts such as F-16 warplanes soaring through the skies for defense exercise.
Retailers are also expected to amp up security. “The Magnificent Mile,” Chicago’s famously known for its mile long stretch of luxury shopping, has prepared emergency response systems. Crate and Barrel store manager, Peter Smey has included “safety zones” in his store as well as added security.
The city itself has been stated to look like a “ghost town.” Chicagoans are staying clear of the city. Some office workers have been advised to stay home Monday, for the concluding meetings.
“They’re worried it’s going to be really, really crazy…I’m just glad they don’t have this summit every year. I’m thoroughly intimidated,” Matt Sweeney, media planner for an advertising company, said.
Today protesters are planned to rally at the Daley Center as a precursor to a much larger demonstration later on in the week. Mikki Kendall tweeted, “At work, wearing clothes that can get messy just in case. Snipers on a lot of rooftops and cops on every corner. #NatoChicago.”
Despite the amassing amount of angry protesters in the city, and added security dilemma the city is to reap some benefit. According Deloitte accounting firm the NATO Summit is expected to bring in revenue of $128.2 million as well as an added $3 million in local tax revenues. As well as provide about 2,200 temporary jobs.
From Rahm Emanuel’s point of view what the NATO Summit holds for Chicago: international exposure.

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