Anti-capitalists, anti-war groups, anarchists, environmental rights groups, and concerned citizens congregated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 24, to protest the negative effects of global corporate capitalism during the G-20 Summit of world leaders.
The G-20 is comprised of 19 leaders of the world's wealthiest countries and representatives the European Union. President Obama is hosting the meeting this year, and the topic of discussion is the global economic crisis. Critics say the meeting is undemocratic and secretive. A common refrain is a demand to put “people before profits”.
One group that calls itself the The Peoples Caravan Across Pennsylvania traveled and blogged their way across the state of Pennsylvania before the Summit inviting supporters to join them for the marches in Pittsburgh. They prepared this audio report of the people they met along the way, describing their own economic hardships.
Protesters were met by tough riot police who utilized tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and sound deterrents. Around 19 protesters were arrested on Thursday. Additional demonstrations are planned for Friday September 25, according to information posted on the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project’s website.
The Pittsburgh Indymedia G-Infinity project is chronicling the events through ongoing citizen media input, including a radio stream, twitter feeds, mobile phone and video reports. They are also tracking clashes with police on a Google map that shows activity all over the city.
The following YouTube video by Soul Pitt TV, a channel run by an African-American community website in Pittsburgh, shows a celebratory spirit among the different people who showed up to the protest on the 24th which was dubbed The People's Uprising:
Soul Pitt TV describes the video:
Raw video of G20 protesters as they leave Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville at 40th and Penn and make their way down to downtown Pittsburgh to protest the G20 summit. Unfortunately these protesters didn't make it past 34th street as tear gas was thrown and the crowd forced back to the park
YouTube user thetwos has posted a number of videos, including the one below, which Marc Parent (@mparent77772) and many others on Twitter described as a “military sound weapon”. A NYTimes article said this is the first time a sound cannon has been used for crowd control in the USA.
In defense of civil rights
The American Civil Rights Union is collecting complaints about law enforcement surrounding the G-20 on their website.
They ACLU also have a telephone hotline offering legal support to protesters on the grounds that their civil rights to peaceful assembly may have been violated. Police are claiming that many of the protests are “unlawful assemblies” while organizers of the main demonstrations say they have followed the official protocol for obtaining permits. The ACLU of Pennsylvania even sued the city government to force them to issue permits for several groups.
Pittsburgh’s G-20 story: Take an expressway from town and disappear into desolate ‘hoods and encounter the civilization of menace. Pittsburgh, a dual city! The glass wonder of PPG Place and/or the G-20 Summit is a faded memory. Here in the ‘hood lives lie abandoned as far as the eye can see.
That is: For the most part, African-American Pittsburgh seems to be invisible, not only to the public relations hucksters who tout Pittsburgh’s successes, but we are equally invisible to the protesters.
Certainly, black Pittsburgh is as proud as anybody in that the black President we worked so hard to elect has selected Pittsburgh as the host of the G-20 Summit. We even enjoy the re-invention of Pittsburgh from a dirty, smoky steel-churning history to the bright, clean, green financial success that the business leaders and politicians boast about so loudly. Nobody is more proud of the Super Bowl winning African-American coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin. But none of that feel-good stuff erases the pain of the stubbornly high unemployment among African American young adults and the staggering dropout rate for young black males from the public school system.