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Chicago, protesters reach deal on NATO march route

Protesters still worry federal officials will try to re-route them.

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Occupy Chicago protestors chant outside the mayor's office in October 2011. The protesters were demanding the mayor release hundreds of arrested protestors and ease restrictions on protests scheduled against G8 and NATO summits then scheduled for Chicago. The White House has since announced it would move May's G8 summit to Camp David. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO - After weeks of wrangling, the Windy City and a group of protesters planning a march during next month's NATO summit  have finally found a protest route they can agree on. 

Chicago officials today approved a permit for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda that will allow the group to march through the heart of downtown Chicago to McCormick Place, where world leaders are scheduled to meet in May. 

The protesters won't get to start in the heart of the city's business district as they had planned, but officials gave marchers the go-ahead to march down busy State Street, the Chicago Tribune said

The march will start at Grant Park, where then President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech after the Novermber 2008 election. 

City officials said the original route would have posed too large a risk to public safety, the Chicago Tribune said.

It noted a permit for protest along the same route during a smaller G8 summit had been approved. 

The NATO summit is scheduled for May 20 and May 21. It is expected to draw dozens of heads of states and their entourages to Chicago. It had been scheduled to coincide with a meeting of G8 leaders, but that meeting has since been moved to Camp David. 

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Protesters still are concerned federal officials may create a security perimeter that forces them to change their route. Protest organizers had asked local officials to back them up if that happens, but the Chicago Sun-Times said that request was denied. 

The city had initially denied protesters' request for a permit to protest at the NATO summit, the Huffington Post said.

Chicago officials relented after the group threatened to sue. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120404/chicago-protest-nato-route