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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.

Comments

varro
Sep. 21st, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that street protests won't do a lot nowadays as opposed to using the media to divert attention to websites exposing the crap that goes on.

The Iraq War protests were generally ignored.

But if there are protests, the ACLU and NLG have things covered, and your help in the "war room" would certainly be appreciated. If the cops arrest anyone or attack anyone, a quick and strong response is important.

Hopefully, they'll learn that covering protests is the easiest thing in the world to get overtime for if they can rein in their desire to beat up and arrest people who likely won't fight back or resist.
tssandwich
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
What he said. The Philly NLG/ACLU have been bombarding me with emails to come out to Pittsburgh to be a legal observer (which I did many times, from the time of the 2000 GOP convention until the first kid was born and I couldn't justify taking 4 hours off in the middle of the afternoon to go watch demos) If I were still totally unemployed, I'd be out there in a heartbeat, but I need to keep this job...g-ddamn responsibility

If you want me to put you in touch with the guy who's organizing the Philadelphia legal observer detachment out to Pittsburgh, I'll happily do it-- they might still be looking for crash space for people heading out.
tssandwich
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
From what I understand, Pittsburgh is getting cops from other cities as backup. This could be good, or bad. The Philly Civil Affairs cops are really easy to deal with-- the only times I've ever seen problems here have been with ordinary beat cops who may have never dealt with this kind of disturbance, freaky looking kids, etc.

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