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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you can't stand the heat ... shut down the kitchen

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 6:18 AM

As is being reported elsewhere, police have continued their efforts to keep Seeds of Peace from ever planting themselves in Pittsburgh soil.

We first reported yesterday about how city police chased the group from private property. And last night came word that police have continued their pursuit. The latest tactic: After an impromptu roadside "safety inspection," police now say that the Seeds of Peace bus driver lacks a correct license to drive the vehicle. 

To protesters, it seems pretty clear what's going on here: Seeds of Peace came to Pittsburgh merely to feed other G-20 demonstrators, but by harrying the group, the police can disrupt the support network -- the infrastructure -- of the broader movement. 

If that is the tactic, it's working: Seeds of Peace are out of the food-service game. (Although another, related organization called "Everybody's Kitchen" is still up and running ... at least for the time being.) Here's how a statement from Seeds describes the situation:

At approximately 7:15 pm, the Seeds of Peace bus was pulled over for a "safety inspection" while heading to an owner-approved parking spot in Larimer. About 40 police, 15 vehicles detained the Seeds of Peace bus, which was being escorted by members of the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence (3RCC).

Two lawyers and a nearly a dozen members of 3RCC quickly joined the scene, along with many members of corporate media. After two hours of harassment, the police finally issued the driver a citation for "parking on the sidewalk" -- which it appears they had to do when they were pulled over. They also imposed another restraint: they claim that the Seeds of Peace bus driver needs an "A class" license to drive the bus. Seeds of Peace has 24 hours to locate a suitable driver. In the meantime, the Seeds of Peace bus is parked and out of commission for cooking food for the mobilization -- but thankfully Everybody's Kitchen is able to provide cook for people.

As we've reported previously, the ACLU has challenged these tactics in federal court, and there will be a hearing at 10 a.m. this morning. At 11 a.m. meanwhile, there will be a protest just outside the courthouse to protest police behavior. 

We'll have dispatches on these and other events throughout the day, so check back. 

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