Large Banner Ad
Small Banner Ad

September 25, 2009

At the G20 "Wanted for treason and crimes against humanity"

Scott Stockdale

Scott Stockdale(Pittsburgh, September 25, 2009) Although downtown Pittsburgh was quiet in the days leading up to the G20 Summit, they had moved the national guard in days before, and I saw a long lineup of out-of-state police cars in Robinson township, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

The stage was set, and judging by the outcome, the authorities had done their homework based on the last G20, and G8 meetings.

On the way downtown, yesterday afternoon, I learned that they had set up a perimeter, using concrete barriers, around the downtown area, where the G20 leaders met, about 2 pm at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. They had also erected wire mesh shields around the post office and the federal buildings.

The schools were closed, partly because of transit problems and partly because the National Guard was using them as a staging area.

Passing through the concrete barriers on the downtown streets, I saw a smattering of curious onlookers viewing row upon row of police officers in riot gear, with police dogs, innumerable motorcycles and an ambulance, with the motor running.

No question, they were prepared.

When I got within a block of the convention center, I came upon ten-foot high fences in front of a row of transport trucks. No one without security clearance could get near the center or their elected leaders. Thierry Arnaud, from BFM TV in France said there had been a Tibetan protesters' march in mid-afternoon, but it was only about 100 people and it quickly dispersed. 

By 5:30 pm the G20 leaders' meeting had broken up and they were on their way to dinner at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, next to the University of Pittsburgh.

Never having been there before, I was fortunate enough to get a ride with a woman I met at a security check downtown. She assured me that with the GPS system in her car, it would make it easy to find the Phipps Conservatory.

But when the GPS system kept leading us astray, she said they were jamming the satellite system for the G20.

When we got to one of the Phipps' entrances about 6:30 pm, I saw 75 to 100 protesters on the sidewalk holding signs with Chinese writing. I can only assume they were protesting the Chinese government's policies in Tibet.

Walking along Liberty Avenue, I heard a police officer say to his colleague, "Someone just got shot," but when I asked for more information there was no response.

After parking the car on a residential street, a local resident told us President Obama had waved to them when he passed half an hour ago. The resident gave us a ride to the other entrance to Phipps, were I saw my first G20 protest.

There was a long line of police officers in riot gear and the ones in the middle were on horseback. Other than verbal taunts, I didn't see any aggressive action on the part of the protesters.

I immediately focused on a young man carrying a sign - he was one of the few who did - that read "Wanted for treason and crimes against humanity" followed by a long list of names including such luminaries as the Bush Family, Henry Kissinger and the Rothschild Family." 

The sign holder, Curtis Wallace, from Hamilton, Ontario said he was there to support the protesters.

"Obama is just a puppet of Wall Street. He's not from Wall Street but his advisors are. This (G20) is a corrupt, non-democratic institution. We're not being told what they’re doing."

Soon after, I was surprised to see the crowd of about 300 dispersing as the police officers on horseback trotted toward us.

A few minutes later, my travelling companion told me she got hit. "I was moving back but a policeman was hitting me with his baton and I fell on one knee," Ms. Kim said, “They were pushing the girl next to me relentlessly. She fell but they had no mercy. She had been spray painting. She dropped the spray can and they kicked it away."

Mr. Wallace said he could hear them saying, "The guy with the sign, the guy with the sign.”

Ryan Romanosky, a freshman biology student at the University of Pittsburgh said he heard about the police blockade and he came to take pictures.

He said he saw protesters break the police's yellow tape and steal it and then four people on bicycles, wearing bandanas, began shouting, "Off the sidewalk, on to the street."

"Then a police officer spoke through a megaphone," Mr. Romanosky said. "He (police officer) said, 'This is an unlawful protest. Leave immediately or you will be arrested. They just ignored him. Then I heard them shoot some kind of gas. There must have been a protest on the other side as well, because I could see clouds of gas behind them."

Fearing I had missed something, I asked a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who had been inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, what he saw.

"Not a whole lot," he said, “We waited forever to get in and then we waited forever in a room. The treasury secretary gave a briefing and that was it."

He added that they never saw the world leaders!

Scott Stockdale is a freelance writer based in Toronto.

  • Think green before you print
  • Respond to the editor
  • Email
  • Delicious
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • StumbleUpon