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On today's show... * We bring you a wrap up on the activities, protests, police attacks, and repression of dissent that took place during the G20 Summit
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Rustbelt Radio for September 28, 2009
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
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We turn now to a review of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh.
Several days before the G20 protests were set to begin, police began a series of late night house raids and searches in different neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh. Beginning Sunday, September 20th, Landslide community farm, an urban farm located in the hill district, was frequented by forty police over the course of two days concerning a pile of tires that were sitting at the edge of their property. During the night of September 20th, a writer’s collective house in Upper Lawrenceville named Cyber Punk Apocalypse was surrounded by dozens of police with guns drawn. Residents of several houses in Polish Hill were visited as well, including a house that was months earlier identified by news channel WTAE as harboring “European Anarchists” but was later corroborated as false. Another unlikely target of the protest that drew attention from the authorities was a school bus retrofitted with a kitchen that intended to serve homeless people and activists in town for the G20. The bus called Seeds of Peace was impounded by the city as well as forced to move on at least several occasions for infractions as minor as being parked in the wrong direction. We now hear from an interview with one of the volunteers of the Seeds of Peace bus.
These types of preemptive attacks against activists by security forces have been observed in the past at several other summit protests including: the Minneapolis Republican National Convention protest in 2008 and in 2004 in New York City and the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in Miami in 2003.The tactic on behalf of cities to mass arrest activists and suffer the consequences of lawsuits later is a common pattern that has now been played out in the city of Pittsburgh.
During the lead up to the G20, the People's Summit hosted 3 days of presentations, dialogues, and panels on the pressing global issues of today. One of the highlighted speakers was Privilege Haangandu, from Zambia. Privilege works as a Debt Program Officer with Jubilee Zambia and the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, Zambia. The Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection is a research, education and advocacy team that promotes study and action on issues linking Christian Faith and social justice in Zambia and Malawi. On the second day of the People's Summit held on Tuesday September 21st, he touched on the topics of AIDS in Africa, debt, trade and the decisions made by the G20 leaders. During the question and answer session, audience members had the opportunity to voice their opinions, and Privilege provided a summary of that evenings discussion:
That was Privilege Haangandu from Zambia speaking at the Peoples Summit. To hear more stories from the Peoples Summit, you can go to indypgh.org/g20
We'll be back after this musical break:
That was Chumbawumba with the song "Coca-Colanisation"
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We now continue with our special report back on the G20 Summit that took place in Pittsburgh September 24th and 25th.
While the City of Pittsburgh delayed and denied permits for various anti-G20 events, some protesters did not seek a permit in order to voice their opposition to the global gathering. The Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project called for The People’s Uprising, a Mass March on the G-20 Summit. Drawing the support of both local and national anarchists and anti-authoritarians, Thursday's march was comprised of the protesters most vilified by the local media in the lead up to the summit. The march began at about 2:00pm on Thursday the 24th, starting in Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville. As the 1000 strong march made its way through Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and other neighborhoods, police ordered issues to disperse. Anarchists responded with attempts to push dumpsters into the streets and attacks on corporate offices such as those of Citizens Bank, Fidelity Bank, and fast food chains. Rustbelt Radio reporter Danny P was on the scene, and provided this update to our G-Infinity Radio Stream:
Later on the night of the 24th, Bash Back, a radical queer organization, called for a march beginning in Oakland at 10:00pm. As the group moved along Forbes and Fifth avenues, more businesses were attacked and police responded with riot control weapons. Students, pedestrians, and onlookers who were simply trying to navigate the Oakland streets became the unlikely targets of the police repression. Many students were watching the events unfold on Fifth and Forbes Avenues didn't expect to become the victims of police brutality and the use of crowd control weapons which included tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, and arbitrary arrests. In two of the more obscene attacks by police, one student was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and several students were gassed in the stairwell and skywalk of Pitt's campus that sits above Forbes Avenue. The brutality of the police shocked many Pitt students who were not expecting to be caught in the protests.
As a result of Thursday's events, a call was made for a gathering in Schenley Plaza at 10:00pm on Friday night. Flyers that simply stated "Go Pitt F__ the Police" drew several hundred people to the Plaza and surrounding streets. While students milled about peacefully, hundreds of riot police began forcing the crowds to move out of the area. Nigel Parry, an IMC reporter from the Twin Cities called in this live update to our G-Infinity radio stream:
Over 110 arrests were made on the night of Friday September 25th, after students had assembled to speak out against the previous night's police brutality. Indymedia reporters captured the reactions of several students who witnessed, or were the victims of these attacks by the police.
To see images of the police brutality on the nights of the 24th and 25th you can go to indypgh.org/g20.
As the G20 protests wrapped up on Saturday evening, the total number of arrestees reached approximately 200 individuals. Thursday's unpermitted actions which took place in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and Oakland had approximately 60 arrests. The largest group of arrests came during Friday night's student protest against the police brutality that had occurred the prior evening. Those arrested were taken to SCI Pittsburgh on the North Side and also the Allegheny County Jail. The Pittsburgh G20 Legal Working group has been organizing to provide information on the arrestees and to coordinate jail solidarity actions. Only a handful of arrestees remain in jail. To stay updated on the legal situation, go to twitter.com/ g20 pgh legal. And to share your own story of police abuse you can contact us at radio @ indypgh. org
And for complete coverage of the G20 Summit from a People's Perspective, you can go to indypgh.org/g20 and look at various audio, video, news reports, twitter feeds, photos and an interactive map that documents the events, protests and activities that took place in Pittsburgh before during and after the G20 Summit. Pittsburgh Indymedia would like to thank all of the contributors, both local and national who helped to cover the myriad of events and provided an alternative voice to the corporate media's coverage.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WPTS Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, and WIUP Indiana.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Shawn Watson with contributions from Seth Bearden, Khalid Harun, Carlin Christy, Danny P, Jessica McPherson, Twin Cities IMC, and the Glass Bead Video Collective of New York City. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.