NATO In Chicago: Activists' New Protest Permit Denied By City

Anti-war activists preparing to demonstrate against the NATO summit in Chicago this spring were denied a new permit for a march they hope to reschedule after the G-8 summit was moved out of the city.

(Scroll down to watch a report on the NATO protesters' proposed permit change.

"The commissioner finds that there are not available at the time of the parade a sufficient number of on-duty police officers, or other city employees authorized to regulate traffic, to police and protect lawful participants in the parade and non-participants," Mike Simon, assistant commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, wrote in the March 15 letter rejecting the permit request.

The city has reportedly offered an alternative route to one that would begin at Daley Plaza and head south through the city's Loop to McCormick Place, but activists have rejected that proposal as staying too far away from where world leaders are scheduled to meet, Crain's Chicago Business reports. The city's proposed route also would be less publicly visible and convenient for public transportation, organizers told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"There's a marked difference in the number of people (dignitaries) expected between the 19th and the 20th," a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Crain's. "It was more feasible to have that route on the 19th."

Nevertheless, negotiations between the city and protest organizers are expected to continue. Demonstrators have until Thursday to appeal the city's rejection of their permit, WBEZ reports.

"If they think these summits are more important than the First Amendment, they should never have burdened the city with them in the first place," protest organizer Andy Thayer told WBEZ.

Thayer previously described the city's loss of the G8 as a confidence booster for organizers preparing for the NATO summit in Chicago, as "it shows protest works."

WATCH a previous report on the new permit that NATO protesters are seeking: