Friday, September 25, 2009
Authorities are Bracing for more protests as the leaders of the Group of 20 continue their summit in Pittsburgh.
About 2 dozen demonstrators were arrested yesterday in several neighborhoods including Bloomfield, Garfield and Lawrenceville when anarchists in an unlawful march clashed with police. Later in the evening, 42 people were arrested as protesters and students refused to obey a dispersal order. Police say 6 people were treated for injuries and other medical problems including reaction to pepper spray. Protesters complained about the city's response calling it "bumbling and violent." Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl commended the police for making "swift decisions" and sending a message that "unlawful behavior" would not be tolerated.
The morning after, there were three main indicators that the Oakland neighborhood was the site of the police clashes —a heavy concentration of state troopers and National Guardsmen, television news trucks, and several broken windows
Standing in front of a shattered pane at an American Apparel store on Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh resident Peter Landwehr questioned whether last night’s marchers were protesting corporatism, or merely looking to cause damage.
"I think with American Apparel, because American Apparel has a lot of baggage associated with it, people—you kind of understand what that’s about. But then if you go and see a smaller, locally-operated store and you see a smashed window, you start to wonder what they’re doing."
Landwehr and others on the streets near the University of Pittsburgh agree last night’s crowd was mostly made up of students looking for some excitement, and blame a small group of serious protesters for setting off the clashes with police.
Officials used horses and lines of officers in riot gear to push back the crowds, before resorting to pepper spray and sonic cannons later in the night.