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Our Voice at the G20: Free speech with the volume muted September 3, 2009

Posted by Morgan in G20.
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pittsummit_iconIn 3 weeks, 18 of the most powerful men and 2 of the most powerful women in the world will meet in Pittsburgh for the G20 summit.  Their combined voices will direct hundreds of billions of dollars, set policy and effect not only the residents of their countries, but all 6.7 billion of us.  They have a pretty loud voice.

The rest of us are working to amplify our voice to call for a bold global climate treaty, and end to current wars, and more money for human needs.  In order to raise that voice, activists need to use all the tools at their disposal, and exercise their full 1st amendment rights.  Those rights are under attack right now from the City of Pittsburgh and the powers above their heads.

  1. No permits for any demonstrations, marches or events of any kind have been granted. The only permit issued so far is to the police to camp (military encampment?) at Point State Park – Pittsburgh’s iconic downtown green space.
  2. Proposed ordinances 1708 and 1709 which criminalize intent when carrying certain materials or wearing masks. link
  3. The city recently passed a resolution for a $19 million security budget ($0 for amenities for visiting demonstrators, $0 for local failing schools, underfunded public health programs, etc.) and is bringing in 3,100 extra police officers. link
  4. The secret service has yet to announce what the security perimeter will be. The 64+ hour perimiter is rumored to shut-down all of downtown, including all bridges and public transportation.  But the details are unknown.  Delaying with the details is an impediment to the planning of peaceful protests, thereby decreasing the volume of our free speech.

We all want the same things here, whether we’re local residents who want to get to work those two days (and can’t afford to miss 2 days pay), activists of all stripes or public officials: safe communities, opportunity to work hard, political freedoms and a voice in our fate.

I’ve never been involved in something so big and it feels like they’re trying to intimidate us.  I don’t plan on being intimidated, and creativity and humor will always trump excessive force when it comes to winning the battle of the narrative.  But jeeze, we’re all good people here – can we cut it out with the fear-mongering?

I just want to hold up a big banner and get our pictures to the global media.  That is our microphone.  Pittsburgh: please don’t turn down the volume so low on that microphone that no one hears it.

Local groups issued this press release today on their fight with the city.

Action Alert: Call the city officials and ask them to please grant permits, vote down the anti-1st amendment resolutions and vote for a pro-democracy ordinance.

Action: sign up for Pittsburgh Action Team for creative, legal, high-energy actions to let Pittsburgh and the media know we need a global climate treaty or we will face the consequences.

Follow @AcFac for action updates and @g20media for media and 1st amendment rights issues

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