The people were protesting the NATO military actions including a recent addition of drones to the NATO arsenal. Much of the general reporting was about the confrontations with the vast array of Chicago Police and Illinois State Troopers. The experiences of four Minnesotan women were vastly different from the combative episodes that were widely reported.
Sarah Martin, Laura Ross, Sue Ann Martinson and Kim DeFranco were part of the Minnesota contingent. The violent incidents are the easy stories and were thus featured on many outlets. The powerful experiences of these women within the 20,000 told a different tale. The much criticized Black Bloc was seen as a highly visible but peaceful, non-violent force. They are easy to spot with the black outfits and always receive a lot of media coverage. One commentator described them as a tactic, not an organization.
There were many diverse groups present with their own agendas, but the unifying force was the universal condemnation of the fact that NATO has evolved into a military arm of the U.S. Government, which is seen as being controlled by major corporations.