Tuesday, October 06, 2009

G20 Meeting in Pittsburgh

I found this on the Internet.

From the Thomas Merton Center/Twin Cities Pittsburgh and Indymedia/Glassbead Collective NYC

Pittsburgh, PA, September 27th, 2009:

On the first day of the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh, residents and visitors arriving in the downtown area of the two time “Most Livable City” winner were greeted with a town locked down with security fences, barricades, and checkpoints staffed by security forces in camouflage standing next to armored vehicles typically seen in TV news reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Apache, Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopters traversed the skies. National Guard and airborne regiments staffed local jails, extended with temporary holding facilities created from mobile trailers, portable toilets and generators, where incarcerated protesters were referred to with military terminology as “detainees” not “arrestees”.

Activists planning G-20-related protest events were repeatedly harassed by police during the week preceding the Summit, and residents unconnected with any protest organizing saw similar visits from a police force acting as if it expected a foreign army to invade the city. As collectives who support activists by providing food services at similar scale events entered Pittsburgh immediately prior to the convention, they and anyone who offered space to their mobile kitchens were harassed and threatened by local police. Attempted public feedings in the downtown area, open to all, were physically blocked by police citing lacks of permits.

Police responded to demonstrations with riot control equipment including batons, tear gas, pepper spray, percussion grenades, and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) used by the New York Police Department during the 2004 Republican National Convention and by the U.S. military to disperse crowds in Iraq. Pre-recorded dispersal orders including the phrase “no matter what your purpose” were blasted from police loudspeakers in crowded public spaces, making it clear that anyone who stayed in the areas following the warnings would be in danger of riot control weapons and arrest—including journalists.


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