Behind the News, G20 Protests (2009), Wanderlust

Best of G20: The People’s March

On September 25, the last day of the G20 conference, several groups organized a “People’s March” from the University of Pittsburgh campus through downtown. Weeks ago, the city granted a permit for the march and accompanying rally, but that didn’t stop scores of riot cops from escorting the estimated 5,000 protesters through the city. At one point, the crowd stretched eight blocks long, the hodgepodge collection of activists chanting, beating drums and holding every manner of protest signage. Here’s the people that stood out:

Best Sign

Underneath Free Hugs the sign says: P.S. Fuck the G20
Underneath "Free Hugs," the sign says: P.S. Fuck the G20.

Best Dressed

Best Random Protester

Best Mean Muggin’

Best Costume

Most Trigger Happy Cop

Best Protest Pick-Up Line

Best Chant

Best Beer Gut in a Riot Suit

Best Use of Riot Cops to Prevent Public Urination

Why are they guarding that alley so closely?

Best Use of Bubbles at a Protest

Oldest Protester

Best Homeless Guy Caught Up in Protest

Prettiest Spot for a Row of Riot Cops

Most Outdated Protester

That is sooo 1995

Most Sympathetic Local

Best Spot to Snap a Protest Photo

Best Reference to the 18th Century

Best Hijiking of a Permitted Left-Wing March by Right-Wing Fundamentalists

Most Sinister Use of a Ryder Truck Since the Oklahoma City Bombing

I saw many of these throughout the week riding around Pittsburgh. Apparently, there were not enough police trucks for all the cops, so they stacked them in Ryder trucks like, well, heavily-armed sardines.
I saw many of these throughout the week riding around Pittsburgh. Apparently, there were not enough police trucks for all the cops, so they stacked them in Ryder trucks like, well, heavily-armed sardines.

Most Colorful Protesters

Best New Protest Instrument

Most Serene Protesters

Worst. Pet Owner. Ever.

Is it just me, or is it irresponsible to bring your pet to an event with thousands of loud marchers chanting, screaming, banging drums and under possible threat of beatings, tear gas and pepper spray?
Is it just me, or is it irresponsible to bring your pet to an event with thousands of loud marchers chanting, screaming, banging drums and under possible threat of beatings, tear gas and pepper spray?

Best Display of Capitalism at an Anti-Capitalist Rally

One copy of the Socialist Worker: $1. The irony of selling a socialist newspaper at an anti-capitalist rally: Priceless.

Best Protest Math Equation (left) and Best To-the-Point Sign (right)

Best Protester Book Review

Best Onlookers

Best Standoff

Best Protest Emcee

4 thoughts on “Best of G20: The People’s March”

  1. Michael Hussey says:

    The Batman photo is hysterical.

    I generally think protest don’t make any real impact. Protests are increasingly becoming weird freak shows.

  2. kelly says:

    You’re a weird freakshow.

  3. kelly says:

    Alex,
    Hussey’s typical, cynical comment is exactly why these snarky alt-weekly/Vice style “Best ofs” sorta irk me- particularly when it’s aimed toward activism-not because they’re overdone-(they are) and not because I don’t think activism should be dissected with a sense of humor (it should)-but because it’s indicative of a culture of apathy that seems to be taking hold in the post-Dubya era-even when events in the world suggest that people should be caring more and getting pissed off even more. We talked about a recent brief time when protests and activism- were “all the rage.” But what has changed in the last few years (besides our first black prez)? The environment is still disintegrating, rich mad men still send the poor off to kill and die by the thousands, and inequality in the third world is at an all time high. Yet, folks exercising their freedom of speech (when accompanied by funny looking costumes) is seen by trite pricks like Hussey as “freakshows that dont make “any real impact.” I’m all for turning the camera inward and analyzing dissent, poking fun at it when it gets tired (whose streets, our streets?) or stale (remember your “know your rights” role play?), but when folks try to paint dissent in America as uncool or ridicule people who act out of passion and frustration of the world around them and a legitimate desire for change…I can thing of little more vapid, foolish, and dangerous than those that shrug their shoulders and say “who cares.” And this is coming from a cynic.

    1. Alex Pickett says:

      I think you make some good points and maybe in my upcoming longer post about why I think the G20 protests failed, I can let you see where I’m coming from. Without the electricity to bring up to the minute updates of what we both saw, I had to look for a way to overview the whole thing. Since I do come from an alt-weekly background, I did choose the “Best Of.” Maybe I was missing doing it for Creative Loafing this year.

      The batman guy was obviously there as a spoof — I think he’s open to ridicule, but of course, he wanted that. I see nothing ridiculing about most of the other photos, except our best dressed fellow and, well, all the photos about the cops.

      I deeply admire anyone who will stand up for what is right, especially when it is not “cool,” however anti-globalization activists need to get back to what made these protests big a decade ago: Focusing on how to form these abstract ideas into concrete issues that thinking Americans can understand, and real change for the people without the money and resources to spend a week protesting.

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