Friday, October 2, 2009
About 200 people gathered outside the University of Pittsburgh's student union last night, speaking out in opposition of police tactics used in Oakland during the G-20 summit.
A promised speaker -- Ryan Geibl, who allegedly spent several hours in the ICU after exposure to gas canisters -- did not appear. (Friends cited last-minute cold feet.) But several other students were on hand to provide their own eyewitness accounts of what happened. And in case you missed it, here are audio clips of some of the students' perspective on what took place that night.
"This is my city. This is where I live." (2 minutes, 51 seconds)
"I've had the very dubious modern privilege of watching myself get arrested on the Internet." (3 minutes, 5 seconds)
"These were not police." (3 minutes, 11 seconds)
"Anything they do to me now, it can't be worse than that night." (1 minute, 55 seconds)
What happens next? It's early to say. Organizers say it's the beginning of a movement to hold police accountable, and there are other events already scheduled. The ACLU, meanwhile, is gathering accounts of what protesters and bystanders experienced during the G-20 as well. (They've set up a "G-20 helpline" at 412-562-5015.)
But those who plead guilty to charges -- even for a light sentence -- may be trading away their ability to file suit against the department down the road. There were efforts to register students to vote in time of the November election, and some in the crowd "Make Grant Street Accountable" and "Vote No For Mayor Luke." (Ravenstahl, of course, is facing two challengers on the November ballot, Kevin Acklin and Dok Harris.)
On the other hand, neither Acklin nor Harris have launched a full-throated critique of police tactics. (Acklin's brother, in fact, is a state trooper who was on duty in Oakland during the protests.) And there is a debate taking place in activist circles about whether there are any good options come November.
On the other hand, attendees were told that Naomi Wolf -- noted feminist and lefty author -- is interested in collecting their accounts as well. They were advised to reach her through her Facebook page.
Tags: Slag Heap