Posted on Sept 25, 2009 at 2:45 a.m. AUG - SEPT 2009 Edition

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“Totalitarianism Takes Campus Captive Seizing Students Freedom First!

By Ramesh C.Reddy
Pittsburgh Standard

Sept 25, 2009

Few trigger happy police could not stop their fingers from hitting the tear gas & pepper spray buttons as innocent Pitt students standing in the balcony of Forbes Hall were tear gassed as they were watching the riot police chase away protestors and reporters on Thurs, Sept 24 on the first night of the G-20 Summit in Oakland.

When parents who expect the police to ‘serve and protect’ their children have to fear the ones that are trusted to ‘serve and protect’ them, what has happened to serve and protect?

The Pitt students living in Forbes Hall had every right to assemble in the balcony of their own terrace without being subject to abuse by riot geared officers.

Why did some of the police do it?

They cannot say it was because the students were illegally assembling since the terrace is part of their home in Forbes Hall.

This is the worst sort of action seen by police in Oakland in recent memory. It makes me wonder if the police that sprayed Pitt students were outside contractors who could care less who they injured.

Were certain officers afraid that the Pitt students would be taking incriminating pictures and videos of the officers doing things that were not supposed to be done?

For example, were they afraid that evidence would be gathered concerning their actions involving a Pitt student near Forbes Hall who was gunned down with rubber bullets and collapsed having to be taken to the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital because police injured him!

The riot police scared Pitt students that few of them rushed into Forbes Hall and closed the door behind the marching riot police even as they took pictures. This however did not stop concerned friends from inquiring about their friend who was gunned down by rubber bullets or ensuring my own safety when I tried to go outside to cover more abuses by the officers.

These totalitarian police who thought it was ok to tear gas students and use rubber bullets at their whim need to think how they would have felt if anything like this happened to their son or daughter especially when the students were not breaking the law.

These totalitarian actions by few riot police did not stop with the Pitt students but went a step further. A reporter for the Post-Gazette was sprayed savagely with tear gas at close range, while writing his notes, by a blonde-straight haired, medium built Caucasian officer sporting a military camouflage suit.

It does not matter to be in the press, remarked the Post-Gazette reporter after being severely sprayed. I was in the cross-fire of the officer’s spray dispersed at very close range at the reporter.

Other reporters used gas masks to protect themselves from many of the vicious riot gear officers.

There should be an investigation into the actions of the officers who sprayed the Pitt students at Forbes Hall and who sporadically sprayed reporters as cameras in the area should be watched.

The police had no right to single out certain reporters and violate their first amendment rights of the freedom of the press no matter how many times they reminded the assemblers of the consequences of remaining on the roads and sidewalks.

The Citizen Review Board should investigate every officer engaged in this type of conduct so students living in their own facilities and press reporters do not have to fear being abused by trigger happy riot officers.

It should be noted that majority of the officers were very cordial and patient but as always there are a few officers who are trigger happy and hungry who give a bad name to thousands of faithful officers who do serve and protect our student body.

All photos by Ramesh C. Reddy of

More coverage of the G20 protests and aftermath coming in the weekend edition of Pittsburgh Standard including what anarchists did to the Oakland community.

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Oakland International Fellowship welcomes incoming students to its worship service on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. near North Dithridge St. followed by Sunday School at 11:30 a.m. and fellowship lunch at 12:30 p.m.

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