Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) stands in solidarity with all who were harassed, brutalized, or arrested by police forces during or around the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from September 20-25, 2009.
Thousands of young activists gathered in Pittsburgh to protest the G-20 summit, held on September 24-25, and the wars, racism, poverty, and gentrification entailed by the G20’s pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist agreements. They were met by thousands of hyper-militarized police imported from states as far as Arizona and Florida, the National Guard, Homeland Security, and SWAT units—present in Pittsburgh and dressed in riot gear, military uniforms and fully armed with guns, batons (used as weapons), mace, K9 units, and a host of other military weapons.
A campaign of violence-baiting was whipped up by local and national authorities along with the corporate media to justify the heavy use of police, Homeland Security and the National Guard, all armed with deadly and so-called “less-lethal” weaponry.
These heavy handed forces carried out de facto martial law in Pittsburgh by ordering dispersal laws. Police formed military blocs to close various parts of the city. Youth were beaten, trapped in stairwells, raided in their university dorm rooms, gassed, detained for hours in cramped, torturous conditions, and repeatedly harassed. An estimated 175 people were arrested in Pittsburgh and many more, including students from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University, were harassed, injured and attacked. Many of those arrested were detained for over eight hours in extremely cramped and deliberately cold quarters without access to restrooms or the ability to move.
In this process, police used weapons including throwing cans of Oleoresin Capsicum, or OC gas ,which causes temporary breathing pain and blindness, directly into crowds of protesters and in working class neighborhoods, endangering both the protesters and the community, including many women and children. Rubber bullets and bean bags were fired directly at people, a practice that is potentially lethal. LRADs, or long range acoustic devices, are a brand of military weapon which entail sound cannons which emit high decibel sound waves well beyond the thresholds of human pain tolerance.
These sound waves can cause permanent damage to eardrums, sometimes leading to a permanent loss of hearing. LRADs were used for the first time in the US against G-20 protesters, and also were used by the US backed military coup against pro-Zelaya protesters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Police also used brute physical force, physically beating and/or surrounding youth.
Both the attacks on Pittsburgh and the attacks on Tegucigalpa were especially brutal and specifically targeted youth. The capitalist forces are using violence as an attempt to destroy dissent across the world. These practices are attempts to crush the very movements which are critical to advancing the struggle against all oppression. As youth, we must fight back against police attacks against youth on both US soil, in Honduras, and all around the world.
End all police repression and brutality now!
Free all arrested protesters!
Drop all the Charges!
Fight Imperialism Stand Together