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NATO summit brings world dignitaries, protesters to Chicago

Brittney Elkins

NATO summit will take place in Chicago this weekend. As the city prepares itself for the worst travel conditions and security restrictions, protesters and dignitaries alike are heading to McCormick Place.

Chicagoans, prepare yourselves for one crazy weekend

The NATO summit will descend upon Chicago this weekend, bringing dignitaries from more than 50 nations and thousands of demonstrators to the heart of the Second City.

Along with creating a weekend-long traffic jam, and endless train delays and cancellations, the NATO summit in Chicago will bring a chance for voices to be heard around McCormick Place.

Chicago is bracing for major protests as the NATO summit arrives. Protestors have already taken to the streets to make their voices heard on an assortment of issues. Among the most common grievances; spending money on war while our home front suffers from home foreclosures, schools being closed, and schools that have remained open that do not receive proper funding.

A group of war veterans will return their service medals in protest of the “War on Terror.”

While all this is going on outside McCormick Place, inside the NATO summit will make Chicago the forefront of world news—as if the thousands of protestors weren’t working on that already.

If you haven’t been living amidst NATO summit talks in Chicago over the past several months, or maybe you have been in Chicago but have no idea why parts of major roads are going to be closed this weekend, here are some things to know about the NATO summit.

First of all, for those arriving in Chicago, transportation will be a nightmare. Metra commuters will have delays and restrictions all weekend, the South Shore Line will be limited, parts of major highways will be shut down, the Cubs-Sox series in Wrigleyville will make the Red Line a nightmare, and don’t expect to find any street parking.

For those outside the loop (no pun intended) of NATO summit action, relax and take in the news from the Midwest. This weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago will focus on a few key issues.

The summit will discuss NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan from a combat role to an advisory role next year, and while NATO had planned a gradual withdrawal of combat forces by a 2015 deadline, France’s newly elected Socialist President Francois Hollande complicates the plan. He had campaigned on a promise to pull French troops by the end of 2012.

The NATO summit will also discuss modernizing military equipment, a shortcoming for which the United States often foots the bill. A missile defense shield for Europe will also be discussed. The shield is partly completed, but since Russia opposes the missile defense system, President Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit.

Whether you’re in Chicago or not, this weekend is sure to be history in the making. Major decisions will be made by world powers, the voices of the 99 percent will not be stifled, and…. wait, the next train isn’t coming for another four hours?

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