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Military-Recruitment Station shutdown in Pittsburgh- help urgently needed!

category international | imperialism / war | news report author Sunday August 21, 2005 08:27author by Jonny 5 Report this post to the editors

Police attack with tasers, dogs, and chemical weapons. Six arrested, two hospitalized, many injured.

POG Shuts Down Military-Recruitment Station in Pittsburgh
Police attack with tasers, dogs, and chemical weapons. Six arrested, two hospitalized, many injured.

POG Shuts Down Military-Recruitment Station in Pittsburgh
Police attack with tasers, dogs, and chemical weapons. Six arrested, two hospitalized, many injured.

Urgent solidarity and help needed!

Today in Pittsburgh, 100 people showed up in response to a call to shut down military recruitment in Pittsburgh. For the second time in a month, Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) was able to successfully shut down the main recruitment station in Pittsburgh. This marked the sixth time in recent months that recruitment in Pittsburgh was disrupted by anti-war activists. Prior to the start of the march, word was received that the station wouldn’t be opening for the day due to the protests.

At 10:45am people began to march towards the Oakland Recruiting Station in order to celebrate this victory, ensure there was no chance of the station reopening that day, and to focus attention on the continuing demand for its closure. The march took over Forbes Avenue opposing traffic and met only limited police interference. Upon arrival, the march moved completely onto the sidewalk and blocked the doors to the center. Speakers from POG talked about the need to confront recruitment and the ongoing war in Iraq. More information on the overall campaign can be found at www.organizepittsburgh.org

As the speech finished, someone taped a cardboard sign to the stations door reading “No Lies Told Today, Recruitment Center Has Been Shut Down.” At this point, a cameraman from Fox News shoved his camera into the face of a protester who was standing by the sign. When that individual asked that it be pointed somewhere else (instead of his face) the cameraman became aggressive. An altercation ensued at which point he started screaming to the cops to arrest people for assaulting his camera. Police from the City Of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh promptly began to attack the crowd on the sidewalk. The first person arrested (and according to the police, the person Fox is pressing charges against) was hit and pepper sprayed, during which time a cop held a taser two inches from his face. After that, a women in the crowd was grabbed, hit, pepper sprayed in the face while on the ground, and then tasered, all while three large cops stood around her. She is currently in the hospital and we are unsure of her condition. A male protester was also arrested, pepper-sprayed and tasered. An overwhelming police presence started ordering people to disperse from the sidewalk, and a police dog began pursuing people. Cops hit and shoved people, while the dog lunged forward and bit a 68-year-old grandmother who was walking away with her back to the dog. The police also let the dog bite a videographer, who narrowly avoided injury as the dog only got his pants. Further outrages occurred as the police grabbed a 17 year-old girl off the sidewalk and slammed her to the ground. Her crime? She questioned the legality of their earlier actions. Pepper spray also hit a group of children and the police knocked over a man in a wheelchair.

While a total of six people were arrested, many other people were successfully un-arrested by activists who pulled them away. All of those arrested are facing multiple charges; exact charges and bails are unknown as of this time. There is an urgent need for bail money and legal costs, along with solidarity calls and emails. Here is how you can help:

You can donate to legal costs online through paypal -
www.paypal.com/cgibin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=pog%40mutualaid%2eorg&item_name=POG%20Legal&no_shipping=0&no_note=1&tax=0¤cy_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF&charset=UTF%2d8

- You can also mail donations (please mark A20 legal costs) to POG c/o TMC 5125, Penn Ave. Pittsburgh PA 15224

Please call the following individuals to demand that they:
- Investigate the conduct of police at the Aug 20 anti-war protest in Oakland and increase oversight of the Department
- Publicly speak out and work to get those arrested released and the charges dropped
- Support an immediate moratorium on the use of police dogs at protests and tasers -- which city council recently funded only due to promises they would be used in situations which threatened an officer’s life and would therefore save lives.

The more people you call the more you help :)

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy at (412) 255-2626
Pittsburgh director of Public Safety, Robert Kennedy (412) 255-2038
Pittsburgh City Council:
Doug Shields: 412-255-8965
Sala Udin: 412-255-2134
William Peduto: 412-255-2133
Twanda Carlisle: 412-255-2137
Luke Ravenstahl: 412-255-2135
Daniel J. Deasy: 412-255-8963
James Motznik: 412-255-2131
Len Bodak: 412-255-2140

Call Assistant Chief of Police Nathan Harper- 412-323-7821 (when calling police, simply voice your disapproval of the police handling of events and let them know you’ve asked the city to investigate)

If you were on the scene and a witness to what occurred (regardless of whether or not it happened to you) you could file a complaint with the Pittsburgh Civilian Police Review Board. Although the Board can only investigate and recommend that officers be disciplined, it’s still important to document.

www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cprb/html/complaints.html www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cprb/html/complaint_form.html

The police are violent and are an inherent piece of enforcing and maintaining the U.S. Empire. While the military enforces our will overseas, police agencies are utilized to ensure domestic tranquility. A tranquility that must be disrupted because we are not satisfied with the state of this world. This system and its manifestations are what we oppose and seek to change. We know that when the state is challenged it will respond with little consideration to what is “legal,” but at the same time it is important that social movements work through whatever means we have to maximize our rights. We believe in the necessity of direct action to bring to the surface the inherent violence of this system.

POG put a significant amount of time and resources into the Aug. 6 and Aug 20 events, but the truth is these protests are just one piece of our larger counter-recruitment campaign whose aim is to confront military recruitment in the city through the utilization of a diversity of tactics. In the coming months, we will be gearing our efforts more towards educational work within the schools, holding forums and speakouts and, of course, continuing to organize protests and direct actions. We hope you will consider attending and supporting this work.

POG sends out its most heartfelt thanks to everyone who showed up today. You all are an inspiration to us in the continuing fight for a peaceful and just world. It is because of your participation that the military chose to shut down rather than face the generation it is killing, and it is our hope that this is but a small beginning.

In love, rage and solidarity,
Pittsburgh Organizing Group

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