More than a thousand conservative lawmakers and business executives have gathered this week for a conference that could shape a new wave of Republican legislation in state capitols pushing for deeper tax cuts, limits on union powers and a private-sector makeover for government Medicaid programs.
Attendees at the American Legislative Exchange Council were countered Thursday by a roughly equal number of protesters upset by the close ties between big businesses and lawmakers. As meeting participants handed out awards and dined at a meal sponsored by the Texas Oil and Gas Association, picketers denouncing "corporate greed" paced the sidewalks and clogged the street in front of the Chicago hotel hosting the conference.
Community activists, labor groups, and other progressives are continuing the protests on Friday with a heavy police presence expected again after brutal arrests on Thursday:
Unions members attended the protests, ALEC Exposed was on hand, as well as teachers. The protests shut down Monroe Street in front of the Palmer hotel.
Police were doing "snatch and grab" arrests and beating school teachers.
In the first part of the video below, police are using metal barriers to hem in demonstrators in front of The Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago on Thursday, then moments later a police commander (white shirt) shoves a demonstrator from behind and makes a grab at another, prompting a short tugging match. Police then charge into the crowd randomly tossing people to the pavement:
Next, this video is from the "Stand Your Ground Die-In" protest as ALEC advocates "Stand Your Ground" legislation:
No word yet on how many arrests there have been, or if anyone has been injured. Probably because there is little national news coverage of the protests. I'll update as information comes in.
Friday's protests have begun, and you can view the action via the livestream below: