Thursday, September 24, 2009
Charlie Deitch reports in from Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, where an unpermitted march is set to kick off in roughly 90 minutes.
Here's the scene:
Deitch says that the crowd at Arsenal currently numbers about 100 "with a couple new people coming in every minute or so." The first contingent of police -- about a dozen bicycle-mounted police officers -- has just arrived.
In the meantime, Bill O'Driscoll has this report from a protest Downtown involving Burmese monks:
Around noon, 15 Burmese monks and a like number of supporters gathered outside the August Wilson Center to protest government repression in their home country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).
The monks, who live in exile at the Buddhist temple monastery in Chapel Hill, N.C., were hosted locally by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, which shelters persecuted writers. The Wilson Center is perhaps the closest large public area to the convention center that's still accessible without having to cross security checkpoints during the G-20 summit.
Monks speaking out for freedom in Myanmar are persecuted and often jailed. Many of the protestors today held images of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese dissident who's spend much of her adult life under house arrest, despite international condemnation of the persecution.
One of the images was a portrait by Shepard Fairey, creator of the Obama "hope" poster.
"The people in Burma, the students, from all walks of life, are suffering," one of the monks, Agga Dhamme, said through a translator. "They [are] emotionally depressed because the military government was in power for more than 26 years."
The monks, all wearing orange and brown robes, had marched from City of Asylum's houses on the North Side. The protest consisted largely of the monks meditating while seated on this blocked portion of Liberty Avenue. It attracted some media and enlivened other protestors, including opponents of oppression in Ethiopia and a guy carrying a sign reading "stop the Global Bank Thieves of America" and repeatedly yelling "Protest is freedom!"
Most of them left after the monks did, at about 12:30.