Police fire tear gas at G20 protesters
Posted by dorian on September 24, 2009
Anarchy in America:
What were the G20 thinking having a summit in America? Don’t they read the news? America is a hotbed for anarchists nowadays. Hey, cool ninja outfits! R.I.M prospects for P.!
Alexandra Frean in Pittsburgh
Police fire tear gas at G20 protesters
An unpermitted anti-capitalist protest march towards the G20 summit in Pittsburgh has turned violent today, with police firing tear gas after protesters barricaded the street.
Authorities braced for trouble on the eve of the summit of industrialised nations, officers ordered several hundred protesters from a group calling itself the G20 Project Resistance to stop their planned march, which they said was not sanctioned by the city.
According to news agency reports, officers made their announcement over a loudspeaker telling people to leave or face arrest or “other police action.”
However protesters are reported to have responded to the demands with violence, overturning six rubbish bins that were barricading the street and rolling them towards police. Some protesters are also reported to be using pallets and corrugated steel to block a road.
Leaders of the G20 nations, including President Obama, began arriving in Pittsburgh tonight after the end of the UN General Assembly in New York. The two-day summit is aimed at shoring up the world economy and tightening rules after the financial crisis.
Pittsburgh mounted a massive security operation as heads of state arrived for the meeting set to be dominated by banker bonuses, stimulus “exit strategies” and rebalancing world growth.
G-20 opponents, police clash on Pittsburgh streets
PITTSBURGH – Police threw canisters ofand 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 same 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.
Police in riot gear stood guard near the protesters, who 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 hundreds of marchers included small groups of self-described anarchists, some wearing dark clothes and bandanas and carrying black flags. Others wore helmets and safety goggles.
Some held a banner that read, “No borders, no thanks.” Another banner read, “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 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, breaking the front windshield. Some protesters used pallets and corrugated steel to block a road. Police said the windows at one bank branch were broken.
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.
Police were planning a news conference to discuss their response. Officers were seen taking away a handful of protesters in cuffs.
About an hour after the clashes started, the police and protesters were at a standoff. Police sealed off main thoroughfares to downtown. Some of the protesters were seen ducking into alleyways to change out of their all-black clothing and then milling about in the street.
Twenty-one-year-old Stephon Boatwright, of Syracuse, N.Y., wore a mask of English anarchist Guy Fawkes and walked up and down in front of a line of riot police yelling at them. He then sat cross-legged about eight feet from the riot line, telling the police to let the protesters through and to join their cause.
“You’re actively suppressing us. I know you want to move,” Boatwright yelled, to applause from the protesters gathered around him.
Protesters complained that the march had been peaceful and that police were trampling on their right to assemble.
“We were standing there. We were barely even protesting. We were really just watching the line,” said T.J. Amick, 22, of Pittsburgh. “Then all of a sudden, they come up and tell us we’re gathered illegally and start using force, start banging their shields, start telling us we’re going to be arrested and tear gassed. But we’re just standing there watching them. We haven’t broken any laws.”
Bret Hatch, 26, of Green Bay, Wis., was carrying an American flag and a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.
“This is ridiculous. We have constitutional rights to free speech,” he said.
The march had begun at a city park, where an activist from New York City, dressed in a white suit with a preacher’s collar, started it off with a speech through a bullhorn.
“They are not operating on Earth time. … They are accommodating the devil,” he said. “To love democracy and to love the earth is to be a radical now.”
The activist, Billy Talen, travels the country preaching against consumerism. He initially identified himself as “the Rev. Billy from the Church of Life After Shopping.”
The G-20 summit begins Thursday evening with a welcome ceremony and ends late Friday afternoon after a day of meetings at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Dignitaries were arriving in waves and were heading to a city under heavy security. Police and National Guard troops guarded many downtown intersections, and a maze of tall metal fences and concrete barriers shunted cars and pedestrians.
The Obamas were to welcome world leaders and their spouses Thursday evening at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Hundreds of police in riot gear were seen massing at Phipps, but only a handful of demonstrators were there.
Associated Press writer Vicki Smith contributed to this report.