Share This Page

Hill District tent city continues to grow as protesters plan demonstrations

Crews overnight erected crowd-control fences on streets around the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in preparation for the Group of 20 economic summit.

Workers placed tall metal fences along Penn Avenue near the convention center and Grant Street near the Federal Building, Downtown, and around Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland. G-20 meetings begin Thursday.

Across town, a group of protesters in the Hill District said they expected an influx of people to join their temporary tent city before world leaders arrive for the summit.

"We're going to have to rearrange," said Cheryl LaBash, an organizer with Bail Out The People, as she mingled with campers about 2 a.m. Population at the tent city on Wylie Avenue stood about 60 strong, she said.

"I think it's really been terrific," said LaBash, 60, a retired road construction inspector for the city of Detroit. "The reason we're here with all the violence baiting and the G-20 and what they say is to make people remember those without jobs."

Protesters at the camp — who represent several organizations — came from across the country, including California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington D.C.

John Parker, 49, drove from Los Angeles to join Bail Out The People and highlight the need for jobs.

"It's important for us to come here," Parker said. "(World leaders are) supposed to make things better, and things have gotten worse. They're enriching themselves."

Representatives from the Minneapolis-based Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign joined the tent city to voice the plight of the homeless. The Rev. Bruce Wright of the Refuge Ministries in Tampa said most of the people in his group are homeless or recently have been, and they came to Pittsburgh to show the world "we're no longer going to be silent."

"What we're trying to do is bring forth our belief that housing, jobs and health care are human rights," Wright said.

Hill District residents have donated water and food and have been supportive of the site, Parker said.

He dismissed worries about upcoming marches becoming violent.

"It's funny, with all these things where folks gather, the authorities put these stories out there that there's going to be violence," Parker said. "They're just trying to scare people from coming out and protesting."

LaBash joked about being considered an "outside agitator."

"I'm 60 years old. I'm retired, and I own a house," she said. "We're not scary. You may not agree with us always, but it's not the way it has been played up."

Some campers participated in a demonstration Tuesday outside BNY Mellon headquarters, Downtown, to protest bank foreclosures. Today, campers will hold a panel discussion at Monumental Baptist Church on Wylie Avenue that will spotlight how G-20 policies affect communities.

Several groups, including Bail Out The People, marched Sunday in the Hill District to demonstrate the need for more jobs.

Another yet-to-be-announced march is planned, and LaBash said her group also would participate in the People's March planned for Friday.

"We're participating in all the events," LaBash said. "We stand in solidarity with others who stand against the G-20 and what it represents."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.