Saturday, August 22, 2009


As my original home town of Pittsburgh gears up for the G-20 summit, the residents are getting increasingly unhappy and the bad crazies are coming out.

A coalition of groups opposed to the G-20 met last night to plan what appears to be shaping up as a 21st-century battle for Fort Pitt -- saying the city has blocked plans to protest.

Some hinted at civil disobedience, others at civil litigation.

"I've always had it in the back of my mind about civil disobedience and being arrested," said Kathy Cunningham, a Sharpsburg woman who said she has long experience marching in the streets, but none to date waiting in a jail cell.

The dilemma over when, where and how to take to the streets, emerged, protest leaders said, after the city failed to approve a series of permits sought by a range of groups.

Code Pink and several other groups sought a permit for a tent city at Point State Park and say they were turned down because the police and Secret Service want to use it as a staging area during the Sept. 24-25 meetings.

[ ... ]

Some, such as Albert Petrarca, a Highland Park resident active with the Palestine Solidarity Committee, suggested a two-track struggle: litigate for the permits and, if it becomes necessary, plan for mass arrests.

"It seems to me the only thing they're going to listen to is the threat of non-violent civil disobedience," Mr. Petrarca said. "We should be filling these jails. We should be filling them willingly; we should be filling them joyfully."

The disruption this will cause, I'm afraid, is too high a price to pay for the perceived PR bonus. All of the people I know there are just wishing this would go away.