Police abusing powers to discourage G20 summit protests

Two days before the beginning of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania activists are already claiming harassment from police officers.

The ACLU is filing charges against the Pittsburgh Police Department after claiming that “more than 30 Pittsburgh police officers with semi-automatic weapons” raided a Seeds for Peace food truck in the middle of the night and demanded to search it even though they lacked a warrant.

After refusing to allow them to search the truck, the suit claims, the officers then arrested the activists for two hours on loitering charges. Officers claim they raided the food truck for “national security” reasons.

Activist groups Seeds of Peace Collective and Three Rivers Climate Convergence denounced “systematic attempts to harass and discourage lawful First Amendment activities,” after filing a complaint on Monday against the Pittsburgh Police Department. The suit focuses on three separate incidents that include the midnight raid on the truck, as well as several other citations given to owners of the vehicle at different points during the past two days.

The Seeds of Peace Collective drives a bus that runs on vegetable oil and was founded in 1986 to provide food and water to protesters.

“I’m not going to comment on [the ACLU lawsuit], nor will I, throughout this week, get into the back and forth of any organization that may decide to sue our police department or may decide to take us to court,” said Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The collective was still able to provide food for 200 people yesterday at the Three Rivers Climate Convergence. “We got food out tonight. That brings my morale up,” said Katy Kelly, with Seeds of Peace.

Protesters are coming to Pittsburgh this week to advocate everything from universal health care to an end to capitalism.

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