Worried about protests that surround meetings of officials from the world's 20 biggest industrial and emerging economies, Pittsburgh has asked 4,000 officers from across the U.S. to supplement its 900-member police force for the Group of 20 meeting next month, reports the New York Times. Advocacy groups planning to march, form tent cities, and demonstrate worry that the heightened security will itself cause a problem.
Pittsburgh granted six permits for demonstrations and marches after previously saying most of them would be denied. The city has also promised at least two protest spots “within sight and sound” of the downtown convention center where the G-20 meetings will be held, avoiding the “free-speech cages” that were set up in some cities far away from, for example, the Democratic and Republican national convention sites. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl proposed ordinances to allow the police to clamp down on some protest techniques. Masks would be banned, as well as PVC pipe, which some protesters use to link hands and make separating them more difficult, if they are used “during the commission of unlawful activity.” Pittsburgh estimates that it will cost $19 million to provide security for the meeting. The federal government has agreed to provide $10 million.