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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/25/09

From the Ground: G20 Summit Brings Martial Law to Pittsburgh

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News reports from the ground at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh are giving the impression that there is a lot of confusion and fear. Reporters aren't giving a complete picture of the intentions of activists and most likely are focusing in on the anarchists to provide a representation of ongoing protest actions in the city.

To challenge coverage that is omitting the reality that workers, students, concerned citizens, and dedicated activists are holding actions aimed at educating the public and challenging G20 proponents and policies through principled dissent and community-based action, I called a few individuals who are participating in actions during the summit.

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All three led me to conclude that there is a strategy that has been carefully calculated by military, police, and government officials that specifically allows for the criminalizing and suppressing of dissent. Security in Pittsburgh is really a military occupation and martial law is being enforced in the city of Pittsburgh.

Think back to this summer when reports were coming from Iran on Ahmadinejad suppressing those who were rising up against the results of the election. Americans were outraged that the Iranian government would attack protests, target students, and prohibit press and media from operating inside the country.

Focus was placed on how Twitter was directly benefiting the people of Iran. Nobody would have thought that what was happening there could happen here (unless you pay close attention to U.S. government policies and actions), but Alex Lohorto, an SDS organizer with a group called Student Power in the Face of Empire, explained that what Americans found to be despicable in Iran months ago is happening in Pittsburgh right now.

Lohorto described how a student space was raided where people were using Twitter. The police tear gassed students who were preparing to conduct actions during the G20 summit.

A police clash between protesters occurred Thursday night on the University of Pittsburgh campus. It was impossible to count how many cops with shields where there.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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