Protesters lounge in East Park after 4-hour march


An anti-G-20 march that began in Oakland petered out by the time it reached the final rallying point in East Commons Park around 3:45 p.m. on Sept. 25.

Several thousand protesters gathered around noon and marched down Fifth Avenue into Downtown and across the Andy Warhol Bridge onto Sandusky Street. They came down East Ohio and streamed into the park for the closing rally.

As they marched down Sandusky Street, they remained mostly quiet, with a few isolated groups still chanting anti-G-20 messages.

Many groups marched with large signs painted with slogans like “Shut Down the G-20” and “We Want Jobs Now.”

Most protesters found places to sit on the grass or near the playground as the emcee introduced the first speaker, and many lined up to use a port-a-potty or to get a free meal from Seeds of Peace, which was set up near the pool.

The first speaker reported on last night’s People’s Tribunal event, where participants put the G-20 and its policies and practices on trial.

“We find the G-20 guilty as charged!” the woman chanted in an effort to incite the crowd’s excitement.

A few voices joined in, but most seemed to be more interested in talking among themselves and getting something to eat.

Another speaker commented on the lack of police presence at the Northside rally compared to the large numbers of police who escorted the march through Oakland and Downtown.

“I guess the police don’t care about buildings on this side of the river,” the female speaker said.

A group of anarchists seated by Cedar Avenue yelled, “You guys are late!” at a convoy of police cars headed down Cedar toward the North Shore.

They also asked photographers not to take pictures of them, and put their hands in front of their faces every time someone raised a camera.

A group of Pittsburgh Public Works employees stood across the street and watched.

Nancy Snyder, a Deutschtown resident, also came out with a camera to see what the fuss was about.

“I’m not sure who [the protest] is going to impact,” Snyder said. She added that she thought the G-20 would bring some positive publicity to the city.

Another rally speaker compared police action against protesters in the East End on Sept. 24 to actions taken against steelworkers during the Homestead Strike of 1892, where hired Pinkerton men and the militia were called in to quell the strikes.

Despite the general air of exhaustion, a few protesters continued to hand out literature and hold up their signs.

Jessie Davis of Chicago handed out flyers for the Revolutionary Communist Party, and said that the turnout of Pittsburghers for the rally impressed her.

“That’s what’s wonderful about today,” Davis said. “People want to resist. [Capitalism] basically brutalizes people from all over the world. We’re not rescuing this … system, we’re overthrowing it.”

Filberto Ramirez, also of Chicago, favored the more moderate approach of mixing socialism with the current system.

“Socialism does make democracy better,” he said, adding that as long as the people don’t have a say, things will not improve.

Pittsburghers made their concerns known as well. Susan Lee Barton of Oakland advocated human rights, and said she felt G-20 leaders ignored that.

“I’m not for or against countries,” Barton said. “I’m for or against people.”

At around 4:30, the emcee dismissed the protest and gave attendees directions back to Oakland. Many hung around the park, eating and recovering from the four-hour march.

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