Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pepper spray and high fashion in Pittsburgh: the G-20 protests that only Libertarians put into perspective for you


This is the guy who got everything started with the firearms outside the venue in which President Obama was speaking in New Hampshire.

You recall: the evidence that political violence and intimidation was being initiated by those who openly and peacefully carried handguns legally to demonstrations.

This, on the other hand, is the mass demonstration Thursday in Pittsburgh prepartory to the G-20 Summit, wherein legions of police marched in with smoke and pepper spray to disperse the crowd:



Here's how the Associate Press reported the news:

PITTSBURGH — Police fired canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the Group of 20 summit Thursday after anarchists responded to calls to disperse by rolling trash bins and throwing rocks.

The march turned chaotic at just about the time that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived for a meeting with leaders of the world's major economies.

The clashes began after hundreds of protesters, many advocating against capitalism, tried to march from an outlying neighborhood toward the convention center where the summit is being held.

The protesters banged on drums and chanted "Ain't no power like the power of the people, 'cause the power of the people don't stop."

The marchers included small groups of self-described anarchists, some wearing dark clothes and bandanas and carrying black flags. Others wore helmets and safety goggles.

One banner read, "No borders, no thanks," another, "No hope in capitalism." A few minutes into the march, protesters unfurled a large banner reading "NO BAILOUT NO CAPITALISM" with an encircled "A," a recognized sign of anarchists.

The marchers did not have a permit and, after a few blocks, police declared it an unlawful assembly. They played an announcement over a loudspeaker telling people to leave or face arrest and then police in riot gear moved in to break it up.

Protesters split into smaller groups. Some rolled large metal trash bins toward police, and a man in a black hooded sweat shirt threw rocks at a police car, breaking the front windshield. Protesters broke windows in a few businesses, including a bank branch and a Boston Market restaurant.

Officers fired pepper spray and smoke at the protesters. Some of those exposed to the pepper spray coughed and complained that their eyes were watering and stinging.


Here's how HuffPo has so far covered the protests--with [I couldn't make this up if I tried] a photo contest for the most intense image:

Protesters have taken to the streets of Pittsburgh in opposition to the Group of 20 summit taking place Thursday and Friday.

The protests turned violent Thursday, the AP reported, with demonstrators rolling trash bins towards police, and officers firing tear gas back. Read more here. Several thousand demonstrators protested in a more peaceful march on Friday, the New York Times reports.

Check out this slideshow of protesters and vote on the most intense image.

And are you going to any G-20 protests? Send us your G-20 photos and videos! We will publish the best ones of the HuffPost.


What I find ironic is this: Libertarians would mostly find themselves in agreement here with the diaryist at the Daily Kos who wrote:

Tonight in Schenley Plaza a large group of Pitt students and G20 protesters gathered to protest the violent tactics of the law enforcement officials. Hundreds of officers descended onto Pitt's campus, arresting everyone who remained within the vicinity. Countless individuals were arrested merely for standing on their campus, curiously observing the ongoing mele.

Police used tear gas, dogs, a sonic gun, and full riot gear. I myself had an automatic shotgun pointed at my chest and felt as though I was running for my life. I have never been so scared in my own country. We were meant for more than this.


And on the same page:

No permit was obtained for the grassroots protests of the G20 in Pittsburgh. You have to ask your government permission to protest it. This is what Democracy looks like?

THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE!


Libertarians would point out that the same Bill of Rights is supposed to be issue-neutral in terms of the rights of Americans to protest peacefully, or even openly carry firearms.

Libertarians would point out that this is not the sign of a healthy democracy:



And, finally, Libertarians would point out that we're pretty much the only ones--as a group--willing to stand up for the rights of conservatives protesting the public option in health insurance or anarchists protesting capitalism and bank bail-outs, even when those protests push the edges of what makes people comfortable.

PS: This is how much attention most of the MSM gave to the whole issue, captured in the single image of Michelle Obama and the rest of the G-20 leaders' wives showing off their fashion sense:

4 comments:

Miko said...

Well, I'm going to have to draw the line just short of breaking windows.

MKotyk88 said...

Breaking windows and throwing rocks at police officers is crossing the line ... just a tad.

If I was a shop owner who just had my front window broken for no reason other than I was in the 'protestors' way, I'd be a bit peeved too.

Anonymous said...

"And, finally, Libertarians would point out that we're pretty much the only ones--as a group--willing to stand up for the rights of conservatives protesting the public option in health insurance or anarchists protesting capitalism and bank bail-outs, even when those protests push the edges of what makes people comfortable."

Comfortable? What a sanctimonious load of hot steaming bullshit. Comparatively, by any standard, the conservative protests have been orderly. The self-described "anarchists" use these occasions to crawl out of the woodwork to vent their frustrations at being politically impotent, while cowering behind their masks.

Then, Libertarians rarely have enough balls to mix it up. Your "comfort" zone is usually on the sideline, away from the fray.

Anonymous said...

Nice Post.. BrandAlley Code