Quantcast
Connect with us

Major Pittsburgh protest of G20 mostly peaceful

Published

on

Pittsburgh heaved a sigh of relief Friday as thousands of people streamed through the streets of the city in a peaceful protest march against the leaders of the world’s top economies.

Waving banners and chanting slogans, the crowd stretched out of sight as people made their way down the city streets lined by black-clad riot police, still tense after the previous night’s violent anti-G20 protests.

ADVERTISEMENT

The G20 represents the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies and the group’s summits attract a motley crowd of anti-globalisation activists and anarchists opposed to what they see as its inhumane free market policies.

According to security forces there were up to 4,500 marchers, but Peter Shell, president of the Thomas Merton Center which helped organize the march, estimated the number at twice that.

“When I was looking back at the bottom of Oakland, the crowd went back eight to 10 blocks, and you can get 1,000 people in every block,” Shell told AFP.

“It was the biggest protest march in Pittsburgh since the 1970s protests against Vietnam.”

As the marchers massed at the top of Fifth Avenue, a riot policeman rapped his baton hard against his shinguards, making a hollow thud with every tap.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They’re itching for a fight,” said a bystander. “This is really an excessive show of police force. Pittsburgh is a welcoming place.”

Tensions ratcheted up a notch when three protesters bearing signs that said “Human need, not corporate greed” sat down in the middle of the road, but the situation was resolved without a fight.

After a night of violence isparked by young anti-G20 protesters who defied police orders and tried to march on the summit venue, the police, thousands of whom had been shipped in from other cities, were on high alert.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Group of 20 biggest developed and emerging economies and its meetings are a magnet for anti-capitalists opposed to what they see as an undemocratic body promoting inhumane free-market policies.

The black-clad, masked anarchists who fought running battles with police here Thursday drew inspiration from previous demonstrations at global summits, including the G20 London meeting summit in April, where where one bystander died after being hit by police.

ADVERTISEMENT

But on Friday, when the march began to flow after the sit-down protest was peacefully removed, the tension began to lift.

Mothers carrying infants, people with their dogs, couples holding hands and entire groups waving flags and holding banners marched down the avenue in the shadows cast by skyscrapers built for large corporations, turning the streets of Pittsburgh into a palette of protest messages of every color.

One group chanted “Money for children, not for war.” Tibetans chanted “Stop the genocide”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Members of the Falun Gong religious group marched in silence, bringing up the rear of the march.

“We came here to protest the Chinese regime and let people know about the persecution of Falun Gong,” said Kwi Hwang, who says he was forced to work as slave labor for the Chinese, shelling pistachio nuts, making cane chairs and plastic flowers, while he served a five-year jail term “for my beliefs”.

“When I came to America, I saw the things I made as a slave in a Big Lots store,” he said with a wry smile as he put a human face on one of the chief gripes of the anti-G20 protests.

A young girl hugged the edge of the pavement where riot police stood, one every two feet (half a meter), as she walked with the crowd.

ADVERTISEMENT

“You’re sexy, you’re cute, take off that riot suit,” she chanted at police as she passed.

A youth who tried to cross the police line to hug a bystander was brusquely pushed back by a riot policeman. “Don’t do that again,” the police officer said sternly.

On Thursday, black-clad riot police had fired pepper spray and non-lethal rounds at a group of hardline protesters who refused to disperse after being told by the Pittsburgh chief of police their march was illegal.

Sixty-six people were arrested and shops and businesses in the university area were vandalized during Thursday’s hours-long pree of violence.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Friday, “street medic” Chris Heneghan treated a woman for dehydration.

“Yesterday, we treated some people with teargas exposure but today it’s been mostly sprains, dehydration, heat exhaustion, that kind of thing,” Heneghan told AFP.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Buffalo officers who shoved elderly man to the ground arrested: report

Published

on

On Saturday, ABC News reported that the two police officers who pushed an elderly man to the ground have been arrested.

"Two Buffalo, New York, police officers are now facing criminal charges in connection with the graphic caught-on-video shove of a 75-year-old man during a protest, a law enforcement source told ABC News."

"The Thursday protest at Niagara Square had less than 20 demonstrators and several members of Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team, officials said," according to the report. "Both officers were suspended and the Erie County District Attorney John Flynn launched an investigation."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Buffalo cops dispute mass resignation was in solidarity with suspended officers who shoved elderly man: report

Published

on

In an exclusive report with WKBW, two police officers who were part the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team disputed reports that all of the officers resigned in support of two of the colleagues who were suspended and may face criminal charges for shoving a peaceful 75-year-old protester to the ground where he was severely injured.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

GOP scrambling to find delegates willing to attend Trump’s convention after he bailed on North Carolina: report

Published

on

On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Republicans are struggling to find delegates to attend the GOP convention.

"Adding to the uncertainty surrounding the convention is the trepidation delegates are feeling about attending a crowded gathering," reported Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman. "Already, states like Indiana are having difficulty filling both their delegate and alternate spots. Many convention delegates are over 60 and therefore more vulnerable to the virus."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image