Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Greetings from Downtown Pittsburgh, where the streets have been given over almost entirely to concrete dividers and black Cadillacs with diplomatic plates.
The latest news ...
Marty Levine reports there are more complaints about city officials engaging in harassments tactics. This time, it's the Three Rivers Climate Convergence, the folks staffing a "climate camp" in Schenley Park. Camp organizers tell Levine that "The city took all our stuff" sometime Monday night. So either parks crews grabbed the environmental displays, or they fell through a hole in the ozone layer, or some damn thing.
We've contacted the Department of Public Works, but have yet to receive a response.
The Convergence folks were a party to the ACLU's lawsuit against the city, alleging harassment by police. You may also recall that the Convergence were among the groups that wanted camp overnight in city parks. Their main reason for doing so was that it would better demonstrate green-living practices. But now perhaps we see another advantage: Camping overnight would allow the Convergence to keep an eye on their stuff.
In any case, the Convergence is probably done with Schenley -- the park will be shut down for a G-20 banquet taking place at Phipps Conservatory tomorrow night.
Then, later tonight, police made a show of force outside the Greenfield headquarters of the G-20 Resistance Project. A spokesman for the group, Noah Williams, said activists were meeting at around 7 p.m. to discuss plans for protests to take place tomorrow and Friday. A dozen police vehicles rolled up outside the offices, located just off the corner of Murray and Hazelwood avenues.
The police donned riot gear, but made no other move. "They hung around for a while, loaded up again and left" after a half hour, says Williams, who chalks up their departure to the presence of 12 legal observers on the scene.
"I think it's a psychological operation -- a display of force, a sort of threat and intimidation."
But it didn't stop the meeting: Dozens of activists were still on hand two hours later.
City Paper has made an inquiry to police for an explanation about this wacky stunt as well.
UPDATE: When we asked police spokesperson Diane Richard why the police saw fit to drop in on the Resistance Project folks, she said she'd look into it. But she cautioned that there might not be much more information available, because "If there was no incident there will be no report."
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