About 2,500 people, including hundreds of nurses, attended the event in a downtown Chicago square on Friday and a dozen people were arrested, Reuters reported.
About 150 Chicago police officers circled the square, named after Richard J. Daley, who was the mayor of Chicago during the violent police crackdown on anti-Vietnam War protesters at the 1968 Democratic convention.
Thousands of protesters from across the United States gathered in Chicago ahead of the May 21-22 NATO summit, when representatives from 60 countries are scheduled to meet to discuss several issues, especially the war in Afghanistan.
Tom Hayden, who attended the 1968 anti-war demonstration, addressed the crowd, saying, “It’s been 44 years since I had a permit to speak in Chicago.”
Nurses attending the demonstration called for a “Robin Hood” tax on financial institutions’ transactions to counterbalance government funding cuts that have affected healthcare, education, and social services.
“The solution is a tiny, tiny tax,” said Deborah Burger, who spoke on behalf of the nurses.
A banner reading, “Nurses campaign to heal the world, An economy for the 99 percent, Tax Wall Street, National Nurses United,” was exhibited in Daley Plaza.
A young demonstrator said, “We’re here because we’re sick of Wall Street profiting off the wars that NATO starts.”
Chicago police have been preparing for the event for nearly a year, and officers from police departments as far away as Philadelphia and Milwaukee are expected to assist local forces in security measures and crowd control.