By Shannon Gibson
Pittsburgh, PA–A week of protests against the G20 Summit and the Pittsburgh International Coal Conference culminated today with several thousand activists marching to the beat of multiple bands and mass chants calling for the dismantlement of the G20 and reclamation of the streets for the people.
Starting outside the downtown area and taking a 4 mile route, the march included three rallies. At the mid-point rally, Jihan Gearon of the Indigenous Environmental Network (and a part of the New Voices on Climate Change tour by the Global Justice Ecology Project) echoed the crowd’s sentiments that at the G20 “Green has become the new Green”, meaning that leaders of the G20 have now tagged the current climate crisis as the basis for tomorrow’s next profit-making schemes.
Gearon along with other activists from the Global Justice Ecology Project and the Mobilization for Climate Justice spoke out and carried banners in protest of the false solutions of market-based mechanisms for rectifying climate change, such as carbon trading and carbon offsets (a major asset of the U.S.’s Waxman-Markey ACESA bill), proposed by the leaders at the G20.
As protestors marched peacefully, they were flanked by hundreds of police forces dressed in full riot gear wielding batons, tasers, pepper spray and rubber bullet guns. They were also joined by combat ready National Guard troops. While police blasted marchers the day before with sound cannons (also known as Long Range Acoustic Devices – LRADs) and tear gas/pepper spray, today’s march occurred without incident or arrest.
Earlier this week, two protest groups, Seeds of Peace and the Three Rivers Climate Convergence, filed a lawsuit asking for an emergency hearing into allegations that Pittsburgh police harassed them in the run-up to the G20. Suits may arise out of incidents that arose between police forces and students at the University of Pittsburgh late Thursday evening.