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Brandi Fisher of Pittsburgh United speaks at a rally demanding more transparency in HQ2 bid. (Photo courtesy of Matt Richards)

Activists from Chicago to Atlanta held demonstrations and town halls Wednesday to demand more transparency from their cities, as local leaders try to land Amazon HQ2.

Twenty cities are in the running for Amazon’s second headquarters, a project that promises to bring $5 billion in investments and 50,000 jobs to the winner. That has some cities offering big incentive packages to lure the Seattle e-commerce giant. In many cases, finalists’ HQ2 bids have been kept confidential, a big concern of the activists protesting Wednesday.

Various labor groups, like the Partnership for Working Families and Jobs With Justice, organized the events. Participating cities include Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago.

“I’ve seen the state go for years without a budget and now they want to give billions of dollars to one of the richest companies in the world and the injustice of that, the unfairness of that is very palpable to me,” said Nathan Ryan, an organizer of the Chicago event, in an interview with GeekWire.

A separate demonstration took place at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters Tuesday. Protestors gathered to raise concerns about “Amazon and big business” and support a tax on the city’s biggest companies.

Amazon did not respond to our request for comment on the protests.

Bernadette Quasie, a former Amazon warehouse worker, speaks at a Chicago protest. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Ryan)

Amazon estimates that it has invested over $4 billion in its hometown, Seattle, resulting in a $38 billion boost to the city’s economy between 2010 and 2016. The company expects to make similar investments in the city that wins HQ2.

But transparency advocates worry that city officials are deciding what that prize is worth without consulting their constituents.

“The public deserves to see what’s in the Amazon HQ2 bid and our community must have a voice when it comes to development,” said Brandi Fisher, worker justice organizer for Pittsburgh United at a demonstration in her city Wednesday.

Watch video from that event below.

We are here at City Hall demanding transparency, quality local jobs, and community investment for Pittsburgh's Amazon HQ2 bid!We're asking Alexa: What's the plan for Amazon? #NoAmazonWithoutUs

Posted by Pittsburgh UNITED on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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