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Last night I got an email from Pittsburgh related to the protests that Western Pennsylvania residents can expect to see over the next few days with the G-20 Summit in town.  I’ve redacted from the email personal information that protects this person’s identity but needless to say the person who shared it with me has some of the same anxiety that others from my hometown have shared over this event.

While the area’s residents are all proud to share Pittsburgh with the world, they will all be glad when businesses and schools can reopen; they can freely move about the area without jersey walls and reinforced security perimeters; and the protestors “get the hell out of town,” “take a bath” and “learn to use a razor” as one person told me yesterday.

Here’s the email:

“Hey everyone,

I am on the Board of Directors of the XXXXXXX XXXX Community Council and I just returned from a meeting where we had two police officers from Zone 5 warn us about security issues surrounding the G-20 Summit.

The protesters are already here – a bunch of them were thrown out of their illegal “campsite” today in the Allegheny Cemetery.

There are 81 targets in and around Pittsburgh.  They include:

Mostly corporate owned companies –
•    Starbucks (all over Pittsburgh)
•    Giant Eagle (all over Pittsburgh)
•    Trader Joe’s (in East Liberty)
•    Gap (Shadyside, Ross Park Mall, etc.)
•    Victoria’s Secret (same as above)
•    Basically all of Walnut Street which is already starting to board up storefronts

NOT Whole Foods because the owner supports some of the protesters’ issues

They will throw bricks through windows, explode stink bombs or tear gas in grocery stores and block streets – mostly at intersections all over Pittsburgh, not just downtown.

Also,
•    BNY Mellon – even the temporary space in Monroeville where some employees will be working
•    Bayer Corp
•    PNC
•    CMU

And,
•    Bridges
•    Tunnels (they will stop a car in the middle of a tunnel, flatten the tires and set it on fire)

The police told us to STAY AWAY FROM THE PARKWAY WEST on Thursday and Friday.  It could be closed up to 12 hours with all the officials coming to town.  They will be landing their jets at Pittsburgh International and the County Airport.

Pittsburgh is already crawling with Police, Federal Agents, Undercover Agents….you name it.  But please be careful for the next week.”

Here’s hoping that everything goes peacefully but I have to ask myself, “Is this event worth the costs to the area?”

Rich Cooper blog primarily on emergency preparedness and response, management issues related to the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector’s role in homeland security. Read More