Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Federal Lawsuit over G-20 Protest Permits to Begin Wednesday

For Immediate Release                      PRESS RELEASE                            September 15, 2009


Media Contacts:          Pete Shell, 412.422.7435,

Edith Bell, 412.661.7149 or 412.728.3341

Federal Lawsuit over G-20 Protest Permits to Begin Wednesday
Most Protest Groups Still Haven’t Received Permits

           On Wednesday, September 16 at 10:00am at the Federal Court House on 700 Grant Street, downtown Pittsburgh, a federal court hearing will address the formal complaint issued last week by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Thomas Merton Center, CodePink, the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence, Bail Out the People, Pittsburgh Outdoor Artists, and the G6 Billion.  The lawsuit and the hearing are in response to several Pittsburgh G-20 protest groups and organizations that have been in a tug of war for several weeks with Pittsburgh city council and the federal government over permits for outdoor demonstrations.  The complaint claims that the city and federal governments are in violation of basic American rights such as freedom of assembly and expression.

            “We want the G-20 representatives and all people to know how to build a sustainable, democratic world,” says Lacy MacAuley of the G-20 Media Support Team. “This is why it’s important that the federal government issue the requested permits to all the G-20 protest groups.  The ability to have ongoing workshops, trainings, and discussions in the encampments, as well as the ability to peaceably assembly on the streets of downtown, will build community, culture, and opportunities to educate about real sustainability and democracy.”

            The Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee’s request to march from Oakland to one block before the Convention Center on September 25 has also not yet been issued. Pete Shell of the AWC notes that “the Peoples’ March will be peaceful, and the lawsuit will ensure that we obtain the permit we need to march to within sight of the G-20 summit. The voices of the people, articulating solutions to the economic and environmental crises that the G-20 has gotten us into, urgently need to be heard.” 

            David Meieran of the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence, whose group has been denied a permit for its Climate Camp, says that “there’s a rich historical tradition in the United States of ‘24 hour vigils’ and ‘tent cities’ as a protest tactic.  The visual representation of an encampment is an expressive end in itself and should thus be protected by the Constitution.  Camping is as American as apple pie.”

Protesters urge Pittsburghers to support their rights to expression and assembly and invite everyone to the hearing at Pittsburgh’s Federal Court House at 10am on Wednesday.  They further encourage Pittsburghers to demonstrate these rights by participating in the many encampments and marches during the week of the G-20 Summit.



Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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