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G20 Indecision.

As certainly everyone who lives in Pittsburgh knows, The G20 Summit will be happening in town later this week.

I have to admit, I'm torn.

On the one hand, I feel like the biggest wimp in the world for even considering not going down there. I feel like it's 1969 and I live in Vestal, NY but I just don't feel like going to a concert this weekend.

Except I think it's less like Woodstock and more like the 1968 Democratic National Convention, or, perhaps, like Days of Rage. As certain as the news media seems to be that all the protesters will be flinging urine-filled balloons and setting cars on fire, that's how sure I am that the cops will be beating people up indiscriminately. Maybe my arrest really did have the desired effect, because I really don't want to waste another weekend in jail for no reason other than that the cops disagree with my politics.

Of course, it may not even matter. Thus far I know of two cases* of police harassment of people I know personally, who were not involved in anything protest-y at the time. One, because he was hanging out in a household of known anarchists, making music and minding his own business, and one who was actually arrested and charged with several felonies because he ran a red light on his bicycle. The police made it clear that he was arrested for looking like an anarchist while being in Pittsburgh; when they arrested him they asked all sorts of questions about where he was from and if he was in town for the G20.

I still don't know what I'm going to do, but I think I'm leaning toward jail support. I remember how much it meant to me, after two and a half days in jail, to be released and find people waiting outside, cheering for us, and offering us hot meals, cigarettes, and rides to wherever we needed to go. I may be afraid to get my head bashed in at a protest, but I feel like the least I can do is bring a carton of smokes down to the jail and support the folks who are willing to put their butts -- and their skulls -- on the line.

ETA: Make that three cases of police harassment thus far, and we're only talking about within my personal circle of friends.


Sep. 21st, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
I was watching the news today (this may become its own separate post) and they did a story about a protest that happened downtown today. A good story. They covered all those Journalism 101 W's -- Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Etc. -- and the protesters they spoke with were articulate and clear about what they were protesting, why, and what they hoped to achieve.

And then the newscaster capped it off by saying something asinine like "While this was obviously a peaceful protest, the protesters were unable to tell me whether actions would turn violent later on this week."

Really? You mean the people you spoke with weren't clairvoyant? Golly, what a shock.
Sep. 21st, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
LOL I saw a Trib headline this morning that was all "FIRST PROTEST PEACEFUL ZOMG!!" Gosh, really? You don't say! Please try to contain your completely irrational shock over that fact.

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