A call for an apology: Students and community members rally for G-20 arrests investigation

By Estelle Tran

Matthew Lynas reiterated a familiar demand to listeners at the G-20 Summit speak-out on the… Matthew Lynas reiterated a familiar demand to listeners at the G-20 Summit speak-out on the William Pitt Union patio last night.

“I declare this to be an unlawful assembly. You must leave,” he said.

He said that police had no more authority to disperse people than he did. But he didn’t blame the police.

“Fundamentally the blame lies with us,” he said. “At what points did governments think they could get away with what they did?”

Lynas, a Carnegie Mellon University junior from Glasgow, Scotland, joined the Pitt students, representatives of the anti-war group Thomas Merton Center, and other members of the community at a rally sponsored by Pitt’s American Civil Liberties Union student group yesterday evening.

About 150 people gathered to listen to testimonies about the demonstrations in Oakland last Thursday and Friday night. Many of them wore black, blue and gold ribbons around their arms, symbolizing the bruises people received from the police, as well as Pitt pride.

Nathan Lanzendorfeor, 23, from Mt. Lebanon, didn’t wear the ribbons. He wore black and blue on the back of his legs and on his upper arm.

Lanzendorfeor said police shot rubber bullets on Friday night while he was running away down Fifth Avenue. He said four bullets struck him, leaving a palm-sized bruise on the back of his left leg.

Genevieve Redd, president of Pitt’s ACLU student group, said she was pleased with the peaceful event, though some people made the event partisan by calling for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s impeachment. The group plans to table in Towers lobby to get more people to sign petitions.

There were two petitions with identical wording, but one was on behalf of Pitt students and the other on behalf of the Pittsburgh community. The petitions call for Student Government Board, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and the city to conduct a public investigation of the police officers’ behavior last week. It also asks Pitt’s Judicial Board to consider the “situations that were rendered by police action and ended in student arrests.”

The petition also requests an apology from city officials, the mayor and the Secret Service “for the indiscriminate and unconstitutional violation of our community’s First Amendment rights, as well as for the physical harm inflicted upon members of our community.”

Adrienne Mellori, who is a member the G-20 Resistance Project, said that the “police intimidation ” started before there was any rioting.

“Police and authorities are given much more worth than the average civilian,” she said. “The real heroes were the protesters, including the anarchists, and the students who stood their ground when police occupied their campus.”

SGB member Nila Devanath said the last SGB meeting was one of the most highly attended meetings and thanked students for voicing concerns.

“If you keep coming and voicing your concerns, we’ll keep fighting for you,” she said.

Simone Cheatham contributed reporting to this article.