Chicago Sun-Times
The 2012 NATO Chicago Summit brings world leaders to Chicago May 20-21

NATO's chief on Chicago NATO protests: Mark of "free societies"

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivering opening remarks at the Chicago NATO Summit. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was not critical Sunday of anti-NATO protestors in Chicago because the NATO nations represent "free societies where freedom of expression is a fundamental."

Rasmussen was asked whether protests distracted from the Summit and in his reply he did not address the arrest by local law enforcement of three alleged plotters who wanted to attack the Obama campaign headquarters, the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police stations and squad cars.

"I am pleased that we the peoples of NATO countries live in free societies where freedom of expression is a fundamental value," Rasmussen said in his remarks at the start of the two-day Summit in the highly fortified McCormick Place complex.

"And that also includes the possibility that to express your views through demonstrations I would expect that such demonstrations would take place in a peaceful manner," Rasmussen said.

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