Revolution #180, October 25, 2009
Eyewitness Account of anti-G20 Protests
This letter is from an Army vet from Pittsburgh who was at several protests against the G20. Here he is telling what happened in Oakland, Pennsylvania, the night of September 24:
About the heavily televised events from the protests and attacks on Thursday, September 24th in Oakland on the University of Pittsburgh campus. If you go on to YouTube there are videos of this that have gotten thousands of hits. There were at least 300 police dressed in full riot gear and batons. There were also armored vehicles. There were probably about 400 or so protesters. We were less then a half mile away from where the world leaders were having their meeting. The crowd was chanting various things such as, "this is what democracy looks like." Sometimes they would just say "Here we go Steelers here we go." There was a guy standing 2 feet away from me being completely harmless just minding his own business. The police snuck up on him, wrestled him down and arrested him for no apparent reason. I asked the people standing there, "What did he do?" They said, "Nothing."
Then the crowd started chanting, "Let him go, let him go, let him go." Then there were some people from India I think. They brought drums and bells. They started playing and everyone formed a circle and a whole bunch of people started dancing. Everyone was having fun and the crowd was really peaceful. Then out of nowhere for no apparent reason a loud cold, mechanical robotic voice repeatedly started saying, "This is considered an unlawful assembly. Disperse immediately, if you do not disperse you may be arrested or brought down by other means." We knew what the cops meant, namely tear gas rubber bullets and beaten with clubs. Instantly everyone panicked. People were yelling screaming and running. I started to walk away. They shot a tear gas canister out of a cannon. I watched it flying through the air, then I thought, wooo it's coming right at me. It's a good thing I saw it and got out of the way or it would have hit me. Then they chased us out of the park and down the street. They were arresting as many people as they possibly could. Many people did nothing violent but got arrested for simply being there. Eventually, they stopped chasing us and just formed a barricade in the street. Many of us used that time to exercise our first amendment rights. I started screaming, "that was weak, that was weak." Then I turned around. I saw 2 undercover police snuck up on some guy, chased him down and tackled him and arrested him. There were 2 side streets there. That's when I realized that I was surrounded from all 4 sides. That's when I realized that I would be next if I didn't get out quickly. I ran right past the undercover police, but luckily they were too busy arresting that other guy to notice me. Somehow, I managed to get home without getting arrested. The next day I saw this old guy that was at the protest with me. His whole face was black and blue and swollen. The police messed him up bad but he went to the protest the next day anyway. That night a lot of Pitt students got arrested because the police ran all the way up into the building where their dorm rooms were. This was at least a quarter of a mile away from where the original protests were. They were already off the streets and just trying to get home and out of Dodge. I guess this would be considered a police state type of incident. Let's just hope this was an isolated incident and not the start of something bigger.
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