Pittsburgh, PA-Bellvue, PA, 7.9 miles

Leaving Pittsburgh today I felt conflicted. I was not interested in being part of a G-20 protest that could become violent. And I didn’t think it was my battle. But, with each step I took, I realized that every protest is my battle–our battle to preserve democracy and free will.

We are slowly losing our voice in this country. Newspapers are folding; elections are bought and sold; global businesses and corporations are not held accountable for wrongdoings. Though I will not be at the protest in person, I am with them in spirit.

Pittsburgh is not a city unknown to protest. It has a long history of labor disputes and strikes including the Homestead Strike of 1892 and the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. And though I cannot confirm this fact, I was told that the reason it can be difficult to traverse from one neighborhood to another in the city stems from attempts to prevent communication between strikers in various parts of Pittsburgh.

So I was disheartened to hear comments from residents wishing the protesters would get arrested or thrown out of town. And it disturbed me to hear people say how glad they were to see all the police because the police were there to protect them. Sadly the police presence appears to be more about the protection of property in Pittsburgh and less about the safety and protection of the residents or the protesters. I worry that it has been set up to be confrontational and potentially violent when it could easily be peaceful.

– By Jennifer E. Cooper