Terror charges against 3 Nato protesters

2012-05-19 17:41
Chicago - Three Nato summit activists suspected of planning to throw Molotov cocktails during protests in Chicago face terrorism charges, their lawyers said on Saturday.

The three men were among nine activists arrested after armed police broke down the door to a house in Chicago on Wednesday, the National Lawyers Guild said.

The raid came after the three men posted a video online showing how they were pulled over while driving downtown and questioned about their protest plans, the guild said.

"It really is pretty playbook," Sarah Gelsomino, a lawyer with the guild, said.

"The police engage in this kind of conduct - very sensational charges and pre-emptive raids of activists in what we believe to be really an attempt to intimidate people to stop them from protesting and from supporting protesters, and from getting out on the streets."

Gelsomino said she was hoping to get more information on the allegations against the activists at a midday bond hearing.

Chicago on edge

Chicago police contacted by AFP said they were not able to provide any information about the report but said a statement may be available later in the day.

The three men have each been charged with possession of an explosive or incendiary device, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and providing material support to terrorism, the Chicago Sun-Times said, citing Harrison District Police Lieutenant Kenneth Stoppa.

Fears that demonstrations could turn violent have put Chicago on edge, with some downtown businesses even telling office workers to ditch their suits and ties and dress down to avoid being hassled or targeted on the streets.

Police and protest organisers have vowed that there will be no repeat of the trouble that erupted at G20 summits in London and Toronto or the riots that scarred Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Several street protests held so far this week have been peaceful, and most of the 14 people already arrested were engaged in acts of civil disobedience such as refusing to leave the building housing President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters.

The three men charged were identified in the Sun-Times report as Brian Church, aged 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, aged 24, of Keene, New Hampshire; and Brent Vincent Betterly, aged 24, of Oakland Park, Florida.

Read more on:    nato  |  us  |  security

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