With thousands of protesters expected in Pittsburgh for the G-20 Summit on September 24-25, the city has been working to create protest zones near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. However, some groups are not happy with the effort and have filed a lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit last Friday charging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with violating the rights of free speech of six protest groups. The groups are: Codepink, Pittsburgh Women for Peace, Three Rivers Climate Convergence, Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh Outdoor Artists, Bail Out the People, and G-6 Billion.
The suit claims that the groups were denied permits to demonstrate at Point State Park, camp overnight in Pittsburgh state parks, march by the Thomas Merton Center, and demonstrate in Pittsburgh’s downtown.
The city has made efforts to accommodate demonstrators, creating protest zones near the convention center. It leased a parking lot within sight and sound of the convention center for protesters and carved out an area along the River Walk not far from the convention center, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. To date, eight of the 15 applications for demonstration permits have been approved, according to the article. City officials say protesters will not be allowed to camp in city parks.
The G-20 Summit will convene leaders from the world’s 20 largest national economies (plus the European Union) to discuss economic issues. Some 1,600 delegates, including heads of state; 3,000 members of the media; and 4,000 security personnel are expected.