Tuesday, September 29, 2009

G20 Experience

On Thursday night when the protests started near the park I somehow got stuck in the middle of everything. I suppose I was curious about everything that was going on and wanted to be apart of the action as an innocent by stander. I got much more than I expected that's for sure. At first me and a few of my friends went to see what all the talk was about and what was going on at Shenely park.
When we got there an intimidating line of masked people stood shoulder to shoulder. No one seemed to be nervous around these people so we grew comfortable at our spot watching people heckle the dark figures. Soon there after, a man who seemed to be apart of some police force came over to us ad warned us to leave. He told us "a police action" was going to begin within minutes and for our safety we should leave. At the time students were merely dancing in the streets and signing songs about their views, nothing remotely dangerous was occurring. Out of no where this giant swat car pulls up right in the middle of their dancing and announces that we were taking part in "an unlawful assembly".
Not thinking this was a big deal many people stayed put while others started to flee. As I slowly walked back towards Forbes Ave, I glanced behind me to see the innocent dancers being gassed and pushed out of the way by rows upon rows of riot police. Not knowing what to do, my friends and I started to walk faster away to get out of any problems. As we calmly walked back more gas was thrown at us and clouds of smoke covered our vision. I wasn't really sure what the purpose of attacking people who were merely walking back to their dorms was.
As we continued on our way back an older man was attempting to interview the students on their political views. My friend and I were curious as to what he was going to ask so we stuck around to hear his interview. In mid sentence the older man collapsed on the student her was interviewing and began to aggressively cough while grabbing his chest. To me this was one of the scariest sights I have ever seen and I was quite nervous that the man was going to have a heart attack of some sort do to the gasses being thrown at us. He was forced to sit down and drink water until he ended up throwing up on himself. Soon after medics came to help him.
After that all I wanted to do was return to my room and feel a little more safe. As i tried to get up to the dorms I was trapped on the stairs while riot police stood at the top and an army of them marched down Forbes. Looking at the breezeway from the stairs I noticed a friend who was also trapped on both sides. While both of us stood encaged more gas was thrown on us. I moved closer to the main doors and was forcefully pushed inside on top of a mass of people. Not exactly how I wanted my night to end.
Personally I think everything that happened over the weekend was completely ridiculous. The police were on a power high and took advantage of any opening they had to punish anyone who stood in their way. I've heard numerous stories, and saw a few occasions, where the police were shooting their rubber bullets at students who were merely walking home or along the street. It seemed as though everything went out of control. Store windows broken, dumpsters on fire, red blood shot eyes and students running in every direction was definitely a very interesting way to start off my freshman year here at Pitt.

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