Friday, September 25, 2009
Reddit, I had to create an account to post about what just happened on my campus. I go to the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh… G20, you know. President Obama’s dinner for the delegates happened just off campus, within eyesight of us — usually. When people grouped up by the street that would lead to the Phipps Conservatory, they were met with armored police.
For a while the students and locals just stood and talked while the police line faced us. Some people sang and had signs. Others just watched. Slowly, the line of locals began to advance. A police officer with a megaphone stepped out several times and told us to leave the area, but as we weren’t doing anything wrong, most people didn’t leave.
That’s when they shot a canister of gas at us. Reddit, sprinting away from armored police who looked like Storm Troopers from Star Wars, hearing that hissing sound while one of my favorite spots on campus filled with smoke… it was terrifying.
When the smoke cleared the crowd was still there.
This standoff lasted several hours. Around 10:30, the atmosphere had changed. The police had advanced far up the road toward students, who were kept back to a grassy area called Schenley Plaza. Students were singing and dancing. It was very peaceful. Someone said something to a cop.
Suddenly the guy was grabbed and thrown on the ground. The crowd AT ONCE surrounded the cops and started chanting LET HIM GO! LET HIM GO! LET HIM GO!
There was a dumpster lit on fire further up the road, so I went up there to see what I could see, and suddenly there were tons of people sprinting down the sidewalk away from the fire. SWAT vans and six or seven major police cars pulled up to Schenley Plaza.
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Reddit, the next two hours were complete chaos. My campus was invaded by armored police officers. They threw actual tear gas into crowds of students. They SHOT students with rubber bullets. They beat slower-moving students with a baton. I saw a group of cyclists being herded down the sidewalk. A cop reached out and pushed a woman on a bike. She turned around and pushed her bike at the cop. Next thing we knew, he grabbed her by the face and slammed her down on the concrete.
They slowly advanced us back down Forbes Avenue, toward the major freshman dorms. Several protesters broke storefront windows. I’d guess 20 protesting, about 1,000 students watching (if that.) The police fired Sound Cannons at us, a new weapon never before used on US citizens, which plays a sonic pulse that gives major headaches. They fired more tear gas at the students.
Then riot squads came running up behind us and forced us into the Litchfield Towers Lobby. People who did not make it into the lobby before the riot squads got to the doors were grabbed, thrown to the ground, beaten, and arrested.
Here is the part where I felt most violated — The riot cops then ENTERED our dormitory and shouted that students needed to return to their rooms immediately. Anyone arrested, they said, would be expelled from the University of Pittsburgh, no questions asked.
Reddit, is that legal? Would police be able to force someone on the sidewalk back in their home and make them barricade themselves in their basement?
Here’s another part that got me — I saw students try to get in the doors closest to their dorm building (there are 3 towers), and the door was LOCKED. These students did not have time to run around the building. And they were grabbed.
We don’t know what to do. We’re shocked. BECAUSE THE DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF RELEASED A STATEMENT CLAIMING THEY WERE SECURING THE AREA FROM ANARCHISTS AND THAT “SOME” STUDENTS “PROBABLY GOT CAUGHT UP” IN WHAT HAPPENED.
So, in the news, you’ll hear that police secured the campus from anarchists. Not that students were attacked by security forces supposedly there to protect them. PLEASE, help me get the word out. I’ll be around all day tomorrow for questions.
This article was posted: Friday, September 25, 2009 at 7:40 am