a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Friday, September 25, 2009

No peace at the G-20 peace march

A man in a homemade clown suit who identifies himself as Vermin Supreme helps to make a circus of the peace march on the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.

By Scott Beveridge

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – There was a rude woman guiding a group of activists today along the peace march to the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.

She kept barking these orders at journalists with cameras, “Move. Now! Get out of the way.”

Eventually, I caught her attention and told her she needed to find a little peace herself. To her credit, she immediately realized she was out of control and offered an apology.

When the march came to an end outside the Downtown Pittsburgh City-County Building where the speakers were gathered, a University of Pittsburgh student took the microphone in another show of anger.

She said she was upset about a Pitt student who reportedly was beaten by Pittsburgh police the previous evening, the problems with health care being too costly and students like her being strapped with mounting tuition debts. She urged the crowd to become as angry as her about these problems.

Someone apparently forgot to send her the memo about this being a peace march and rally.

It seemed ridiculous for her to encourage madness one day after anarchists in town for the G-20 vandalized a string of businesses in the vicinity of her school in the city's Oakland section. That trouble led to police making 66 arrests, the local newspapers reported this morning.

Meanwhile, another speaker congratulated this assembly for helping to bring 10,000 people Downtown to form a crowd of protesters unlike anyone has seen in Pittsburgh since the Vietnam War.

The last time I checked there weren’t any large anti-Vietnam War protests in Pittsburgh in the 1960s and 1970s. There weren’t 10,000 protesters Downtown today, either. Police along the march estimated the crowd at anywhere between 600 and 2,000.

A freak in a clown suit and actors wearing white potato head puppet suits without an apparent cause to embrace also were among those taking part in the event.

There were many young people beating on makeshift drums to music that didn’t follow a particular melody. Many people carried with them a bad stench of perspiration. A few of the nonconformists turned to the police, bared their stomachs and sang, “You're sexy. You’re cute. Take off your riot suit.”

Later one of my friends reminded me that those hippies probably view soap as a form of the capitalism they oppose.

“You have to spend money to buy soap,” she said.

Meanwhile, a group of 150 Tibetan exiles living in New York and Boston made up one of the larger protest groups.

They came freshly groomed and wearing clean, matching yellow T-shirts to deliver a clear message to China to honor human rights in Tibet. They have a legitimate gripe given the terror China caused in their homeland in 2008 during clashes with Buddhist monks.

The American activists who showed up today in Pittsburgh should have been embarrassed to complain about anything while marching along the same parade route as these exiles.

They also need to come up a serious issue to complain about, and then offer a concrete solution if they are ever going to earn any respect and sympathy.

Tibetan exiles call for human rights in their homeland during the peace march.


MJ said...

Great stories and photos. My favorite is the shot with the state police standing in line, and the one trooper turning his head to the left with a "What the heck am I doing out here?" kind of look.

Kimly P. said...

I want a t-shirt that says "you're sexy, you're cute, take off your riot suit."

Scott Beveridge said...

That T-shirt would look great on you Kimly, but don't point it for two solid days at riot cops unless you want trouble.