May 20, 2012 (CHICAGO) -- Before violence flared at points in the downtown area Sunday, a peaceful protest began with a rally in Grant Park. The rally promoted peace and ended with 45 veterans throwing their medals back, toward the NATO summit at McCormick Place.
"Violence is no answer - we must be the antidote to violence. We must go another way," said Rev. Jesse Jackson. "Stop the violence now - give peace a chance."
Jackson encouraged protesters to keep the peace during his speech at the Petrillo Band Shell. He was one of several speakers to take the stage before the massive march began.
A sea of protesters snaked through the Loop, eventually marching down Michigan Avenue. Police officers in riot gear lined both sides of the streets.
The march ended at Michigan and Cermak where another rally was held. Several veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan symbolically gave back the medals they had received for service to NATO.
There was a lot of negotiation that led to the vets not just leading a parade of many different causes but also being the only ones allowed to speak at parade's end. read more>>>
May 20, 2012 - Nearly 50 U.S. military veterans at an anti-NATO rally in Chicago threw their service medals into the street on Sunday, an action they said symbolized their rejection of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The medals are supposed to be for acts of heroism. I don't feel like a hero. I don't feel like I deserve them," said Zach LaPorte, who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.
"There's no honor in these wars," said Villatoro, before he threw away his medals. "There's just shame." read more>>>