While working on my NATO midterm story, about student protestors, I was able to gain a much better understanding of what the NATO summit means student protestors and their reasons behind opposing the summit. When I started gathering information, my research I had lead me to believe that the protestors were only challenging international violence. However after assembling my information and organizing interviews it was clear that there were many reasons why students were getting involved.
The NATO protestors have many reasons—including the war in Afghanistan, the threat of international action and global equality. However the one main issue students are against is the military action, as well as the influence NATO has on the international community, when dealing with arms issues.
By interviewing students who are heavily involved with protesting the summit and professional experts, who outwardly vocalize their opposition to NATO—I was able to gain a great deal of insight into the issues facing the global community.
However one of the most important areas addressed by several individuals we interviewed, was the fact that protestors needed to remain nonviolent. Using violence to stand up against violence is not only hypocritical but also distracting from the real issues. Although, some groups, like Black Bloc and Anonymous, are coming to Chicago with the intention of using violent demonstrations. It would not be unheard of to witness vandalism, rioting and/ or physical attacks, by both protestors and police.
Dr. June Terpstra warned against unjustifiable attacks from police. And suggested that protestors prepare themselves by bringing necessary tools—such as water and vinegar in case police use tear-gas/ pepper spray. Terpstra also suggested to be aware of your surroundings and that violence can come from anyone, at any time.
I gained a lot of information from my research and from the interviews, however the most beneficial aspect was I learned how to behave while attending the summit and that preparing for all contingencies is key.