City agrees to let nurses hold rally, concert in Daley Plaza next Friday

SHARE City agrees to let nurses hold rally, concert in Daley Plaza next Friday
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POMONA, CA - AUGUST 22: Musician Tom Morello (L) and singer Boots Riley of the band Street Sweeper Social Club perform at KROQ’s EPICENTER ’09: “So. Cal’s Rock Explosion” presented by Rogue at the Fairplax on August 22, 2009 in Pomona, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

City officials and a national nurses union reached an agreement Friday to allow the group to hold the first protest rally of the NATO summit.

Earlier this week, the city threaten to revoke a permit issued to National Nurses United for a rally in Daley Center Plaza next Friday. The city had wanted to move the rally to Grant Park because the nurses heavily promoted the event and added a concert by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello – moves that make it likely the event will draw larger crowds than the group’s original estimate of 1,000.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had defended the city’s decision, saying that nurses did not mention a concert in their application.

But National Nurses United said late Friday in a statement that the city is allowing them to precede with their rally.

Roderick Drew, a spokesman with the city’s Law Department, said the agreement with the nurses union includes reducing the rally from five hours to two hours, changing the protest from a march through downtown to a stationary rally at Daley Plaza and allowing 30 minutes of music performances at the end.

Morello, a Libertyville native, welcomed the city’s decision.

“The mayor’s office and NATO backed down because we stood up,” Morello said in a statement. “This is a great victory for the nurses union, the people of Chicago, free speech and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Drew also said the city has agreed to allow organizers of a Sunday rally to have a stage for veterans of the war in Iraq.

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