Franco “Dok” Harris chimes in on City’s stalling tactics on G-20 dissent

Protests on the Northside between the stadiums makes a weird sort of sense, even though I know there is no way on earth on I will be able to leave my home tucked a mile away from that locale.  I've been told from friends that they were able to listen to the entire Stones concert at the stadium from outside the Convention Center. 

What are your thoughts?

Mayoral Candidate Franco “Dok” Harris calls on the mayor and city council to guarantee basic constitutional rights to both Pittsburghers and visitors alike during next month’s G20. This can be done without interfering with security, and must be done to make sure that all voices are heard.

“The world will be looking at Pittsburgh in September, and we can’t rely on the old politics of NO and limit participation in this historic event. We have to find a way to accommodate peaceful protesters from here at home and from around the world,” said the candidate.

This is in response to the refusal to grant permits to protesters, including State Senator Jim Ferlo, to use Point State Park or any venue near to the summit. Senator Ferlo’s has been an eloquent and outspoken advocate for this issue.

“Just because we face certain restrictions set by the federal government doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and give up. If we don’t do the right thing and provide a good venue for peaceful protests, we risk escalating the anger and frustration of participants which can lead to violence and property destruction. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

Harris agrees with Sen. Ferlo that the city needs to take leadership here and would like to see permits granted for large scale protests in areas accessible to downtown but out of the security perimeter, such as the space between the stadiums on the Northside, or the large surface lots in the Strip district. There are also some suitable spots on the Southside. “The Northside space is a particularly strong candidate as it is within view of the convention center and downtown but should meet security standards and has few local businesses to be impacted by the activity,” offered Harris. “The key thing we need is for the city to be proactive in finding solutions that work.”

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