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Protesters Suing Chicago Reach Settlement Over DNC Protest Route – NBC Chicago

Protesters Suing Chicago Reach Settlement Over DNC Protest Route – NBC Chicago

Protesters Suing Chicago Reach Settlement Over DNC Protest Route – NBC Chicago

CHICAGO – A group of protesters are claiming a small legal victory after announcing Wednesday that they have reached a tentative agreement with the city of Chicago on a route that will allow them to march down Michigan Avenue to Grant Park on Sunday before the Democratic National Convention.

With less than two months before the DNC, protest groups remain embroiled in legal battles, with the city of Chicago claiming they were wrongfully denied protest permits.

“Their opening position was frankly absurd. It’s important that we got to this point, (but) it’s absurd that it took a federal lawsuit,” Andy Thayer told NBC 5 Investigates during an interview Wednesday.

Thayer is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the group Borders Outside of Unjust Laws.

“We’re two-thirds of the way through the eight-and-a-half-month process when we applied for a permit the first day we could, and the city has dragged its feet to this point. It’s unfortunate from an administration that says it’s progressive,” he said.

In court filings, Thayer’s group initially proposed marching down Michigan Avenue from Water Tower Park — and later down State Street.

But even with the proposed alternate routes, the lawsuit claims the city said it would need “several hundred” additional police officers to effectively provide security.

Thayer says the legal wrangles over security only fan the flames of fear and distract from their message.

“LGBTQ people are under attack across the country; we have seen the loss of the constitutional right to abortion and we are witnessing continuous bombing in Gaza,” he said.

According to Thayer and his attorneys, the newly agreed route begins on Michigan Avenue at Wacker Drive and continues south, with protesters ending their march at the statue of General John Logan in Grant Park.

“Which was the scene of a major showdown — say — at the 1968 Democratic National Convention,” Thayer said.

NBC 5 Investigates reached out to the city’s legal department for comment — but a spokeswoman provided a brief statement.

“This matter remains the subject of ongoing litigation and the city has no comment,” the document said.

The agreed protest path does not end Thayer’s lawsuit.

The group is still challenging city ordinances that could create an additional security perimeter beyond that established by the U.S. Secret Service, which is expected to announce the security perimeter around the United Center next month.

Thayer says he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of groups converging on the DNC with or without a permit.

A separate group of protesters appeared in federal court Tuesday, and their lawyers raised similar concerns, after they were denied a permit to assemble in Union Park. Lawyers for those protesters want to remove members of the US Secret Service from that security perimeter.