G20 Summit Pittsburgh PA Sept 2009 – foto by Smith

Just got back from the G20 protest and poetry reading in Pittsburgh – cops and fuzz and Army and State Troopers and National Guard and Military Police and more and more cops everywhere interspersed with Military helicopters flying overhead, Army camouflaged Hummers, sirens, Military convoys, police on horses, police on bicycles, police barricades, and police boats patrolling the three rivers.

We went downtown to the park to read poetry and found ourselves in the midst of 40 police standing around 5 Greenpeace activists who were arrested for unrolling a banner. Unrolling a banner? When did that become a crime in America, the land of free speech?

It started to rain so we huddled under a long white tent, but the police decided to follow us in with their 5 prisoners. One cop suddenly turns to me and demands in an ugly voice what I’m doing there. “Getting out of the rain,” I reply. “Well go away,” he orders me. I’m in a public park getting ready to legally read poetry and I feel like telling the asshole that not only am I within my legal rights, but I was under the tent way before he was, but this time I keep my mouth shut and move away from him, but take their foto, wondering if I’ll be arrested for improper use of camera.

After the rain stops, 8 of us stand in a circle reading political poetry to each other and the cops. An ACLU woman comes up and hands us each pamphlets on what our legal rights are (fortunately reading poetry in a public park is one of them) and what to do if arrested. Newspaper people come by and take our names and pictures, and the next morning we’re told Lady and I have our pictures in the newspaper, but we can’t find it online and forget to buy a paper copy, so I don’t really know if this is true or not. Other folk come by and ask our names and purpose, including some lawyer for a government agency, and I gladly give them each my name and the name of my poetry book I’m reading from. With all the cops and military and show of force, we become paranoid at all these folks asking who we are, which is the purpose of it all to begin with, or at least I believe.

Didn’t accomplish much, but did exercise our Constitutional rights, did irritate the police a wee bit, and did feel a little cleaner inside for speaking out against obvious Government/Corporate evil, so not a bad day all in all.

G20 Summit Pittsburgh PA Sept 2009 – fotos by Smith

3 Responses

  1. In Paris, at the Eiffel Tower I was shocked at the police with machine guns, not knowing if I felt safe or unsafe. One wrong move or another and puff into oblivion…

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