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Chicago Activists Denounce Massive Security Apparatus at NATO Summit Amid Cuts to Social Services

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Hundreds of protesters marched to the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, on Saturday to oppose Emanuel’s cutting of social services while funding a massive security operation during the NATO summit. The day earlier, a group of nurses led a march in downtown Chicago to protest austerity cuts. “They say cut back, we say fight back,” the protesters chanted. “We need to come together,” says retired nurse Kay McVay. “When you cut, you bleed blood. Not gold. Blood.” [includes rush transcript]

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Protesters are heading to the headquarters of Boeing today here in Chicago, capping off a week of protests against the NATO summit. On Friday, the National Nurses United held a march in downtown Chicago. Kay McVay, a retired nurse, condemned austerity cuts.

KAY McVAY: We do have to come together. I don’t care what the color of skin or what language they talk. When you cut, you bleed blood. Not gold. Blood.

AMY GOODMAN: On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marched to the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff. Activists criticized Emanuel for cutting funding for social services while funding a massive security operation during the NATO summit.

PROTESTERS: We’re gonna beat back the Rahm attack! We’re gonna beat, beat back the Rahm attack! We’re gonna beat back the Rahm attack! We’re gonna beat, beat back the Rahm attack!

ZAKIYYAH S. MUHAMMAD: My name is Zakiyyah S. Muhammad, and I am a community activist here in Chicago and wherever else that I’m needed. I am standing with the healthcare advocates today, because Rahm Emanuel has cut the clinics, taken away service. And I am for those that are against cuts.

PROTESTERS: They say cut back! We say fight back! They say cut back! We say fight back! They say cut back! We say fight back!

ZAKIYYAH S. MUHAMMAD: He is about to cut the job title that I’m in, home care providers. They’re trying to cut home care providers, those of us that provide services to disabled and seniors that would normally be in a senior building—out of a senior building into a nursing home. We’re trying to keep them in senior buildings so they won’t have to go to nursing homes. They are cutting child care providers. Right now, child care providers have not gotten paid in six months, because Rahm Emanuel and the governor has taken the money to put in the street for construction, so other people can have jobs that don’t look like us. So I am against all cuts all over this city, all over this world. Mental health is a human right, and there should be mental health clinics in all of our communities.

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