Day 6 - Sept 25 - G20 protests

Day 6—Sept. 25

The permitted People’s March on G-20 attracted an estimated 10,000 people, largely young people. The organizers, the People's Voices coalition, held two rallies during the march.

Following the closing down of the Tent City on the Hill in the morning, the Bail Out the People Movement organized a speak-out and then a contingent at Freedom Corner, which fed into the People’s March.

BOPM’s Larry Holmes spoke at the first rally where he defended the youth who were brutally attacked by the police on Sept. 24 in downtown Pittsburgh. BOPM’s Cheryl LaBash spoke at the second rally on the crisis in Honduras. The March organizers asked the BOPM contingent and its banner, “Message to G-20 - WE NEED JOBS NOW" with photos of Dr. Martin Luther King, to lead the second leg of the march.

Eyewitness report from Dante Strobino:

On Friday night, I was near U. of Pitt around 10:00 when we saw a huge crowd of about over 1000 students, most of which were not political at all and certainly not involved in G-20 protests, gathered in Schenedy Park where there was a concert going on with acoustic and rock bands as part of G-20 protest events. The police began to occupy the park and forcefully removed everyone from the park. As students began to gather around to check it out, the riot police got more hyped up. There were no chants, no signs, no banners, no folks dressed in black and no provocation and the police threw several tear gas and smoke bombs at the crowd again and pushed them further back down commercial streets where there bars and restaurants. They also began chasing people into the huge dormitory towers and attacking students as they left. Students were hanging out the windows, taking pictures in awe.

Forbes St. was blocked off by hundreds of riot cops while surrounding contingents of cops moved in on the other areas of the campus to corral people in. Police brutality had been witnessed -- folks being thrown to the ground and shot with rubber bullets, media being pepper-sprayed and gassed. There have been 48 confirmed arrests (an estimated 175 arrests total) with more reports still coming in. Protesters and students alike are being held in the dorm towers unable to leave in fear of being arrested; other students cannot cross 5th Ave. to get to their residences without being thrown to the ground.

I got a chance to talk to several students who had never seen anything like this in their lives. It was really interesting hearing people say "F_ck the Police", people who you would never expect to hear this from! Even some more conservative students that I talked to, were really angry too and just confused.

What is most striking about being here is seeing the incredible police repression both Thursday and Friday night in Oakland, a neighborhood which houses U. of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, two universities with mostly white, mostly middle class students. As Larry Holmes commented during our Tent City, at any given normal day the police usually target and harass the Black community, but these two days not only are they (Black people) under normal occupation, but the police are targeting young white folks.

Sept. 25 quotes from students on police violence:

"People have been saying mostly that the violence and any disruption by the protest were small fraction, most protesters were peaceful. It was the police who started the violence and ended up finishing the violence. ... It felt like a war zone. The police became more and violent, taking over more and more of the street. I couldn't get to my house even until 3am on Thursday. I saw there multiple people that needed to have pepper spray washed out of their eyes. The police wouldn't let students cross the street or enter their dorm rooms. I saw violent use of police dogs that were used to intimidate."
- Sean O'Sullivan, senior at University of Pittsburgh

"The night before in the same location there was a mass arrest of people walking by who were thrown to the ground, maced and arrested. We were gathering there because kids in a march earlier were there. We didn’t want to march tonight; we wanted to chill and have a nice night. As we did that, more cops surrounded area…We hopped the fence to get out over the hill... as we were doing that, that police officer was beating down a fence with his nightstick to get over it; a reporter got maced in face and we brought him to steps of chapel and we were distracted. They swarmed around us and arrested the guy who was injured; he could barely breathe, trying to get him away from crowd. As kids tried to run away they picked us off one by one. [The police told a woman] to shut the fuck up and get off the goddamn phone. As she was trying to say goodbye, he grabbed her by head and slammed her head into the ground. They were being way forceful and too aggressive. They put on handcuffs way too tight. They had us sit down for awhile and wouldn't tell us what was going on. They put us in two lines for males and females. From that point they took our photos, held out papers in front of our face with another cop. They searched us, put us in vans and wouldn't tell us what was going on. They wouldn't read us our rights; they only had snarky comments to say to us. We were in transportation vans for about three hours; then we got to the State Correctional Facility where we were in the van for another five hours still with plastic handcuffs on. They turned up the air conditioning to 55 degrees to make us feel as uncomfortable as possible. There were girls on periods that they would not let go to bathroom; there were girls in tears because of how bad they had to pee. You can get urinary tract infection or Toxic Shock Syndrome. We were there until 6:30 in the morning. Then they searched us, had us take off all our jewelry but our hands were swollen from cuffs and they were being real aggressive taking off rings. As soon as we stepped off the bus, a guy was holding my arm and a cop said "Say G-20" and snapped my picture. They didn't tell us where we were going or how long that we would be there. They didn't answer any questions we had."

--Jillian Dowis, sophomore at Ohio University


college students trapped in stairwell and gassed, attacked

police assault couple in street

Police pose while taking picture of arrested student

front line of resistance on Thursday afternoon, youth hurl dumpster at cops