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NATO Protesters to city: Pay us for mental, physical injuries

Protesters police clash during an anti-NATO rally S. Michigan Ave. Cermak Rd. Sunday May 20 2012 Chicago. | John J.

Protesters and police clash during an anti-NATO rally at S. Michigan Ave. and Cermak Rd. Sunday, May 20, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 23, 2012 9:51AM

A group of protesters is asking that the city pay for protesters who were injured — physically and mentally — in scuffles with police during the NATO Summit weekend.

“They were extremely violent with peaceful protesters. That has caused trauma within the community,” said Cathy Sugar Russell, an Occupy Chicago spokeswoman.

Russell said the group is calling on the city to reverse austerity measures, namely Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to close six of 12 city mental health facilities.

Russell said the protesters overwhelmed local hospitals the Sunday of the protests and blamed that on a lack of health services available in the area.

Russell estimated that 70 people were injured but others were in need of mental health counseling.

“A number of people are experiencing trauma from the events,” including clashes with the police and seeing videos of violent clashes online, she said.

Last month, Emanuel defended the move to shut down the clinics.

“We’re actually adding patients who were denied service because we didn’t have the resources. … We added patients — a little over a thousand. … And because of the reforms, we’re putting $500,000 into psychiatric care that we could not do before but always had debated,” the mayor said.

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