Peace Watch
January 28, 2003
Pittsburgh Gives Peace A Chance

More peaceful protest and cooperation between Cops and Citizens -- this time in Pittsburgh, PA:
Peaceful weekend pleases police, marchers
By Bob Batz Jr. for the Post-Gazette.
(Thanks, David.)


Key was communication, which the police started
weeks ago with organizers from the Thomas
Merton Center and the Pittsburgh Organizing Group.

Valenta also cited cooperation between city police
and other agencies, including the state police,
Allegheny County Police, Carnegie Mellon
University police and University of Pittsburgh
police, as well as the FBI and the federal
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

He said about 70 officers staffed Saturday's
parade through the South Side, and about
100 covered Sunday's rally and march in
Oakland.

Police estimated at least 1,500 participants
Saturday and 5,000 Sunday, making for
what many agreed was the biggest anti-war
protest here in three decades...

"It's certainly rewarding to know that they
held true to their word, and I think we held
true to ours," Valenta said. "When you can
build a rapport like that, if events happen
in the future, both sides know they can trust
each other."

"We are deeply grateful for the police" who
"went beyond the call of duty" to enable
participants to exercise their constitutional
rights, Vining said.

Vining said the convergence went "beyond
our expectations."

"I had people say it gave them hope for
Pittsburgh as a community -- that we can
actually organize something. It was not a
football game kind of rah-rah, but a unifying
thing."


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://post-gazette.com/localnews/20030128peace0128p4.asp

Pittsburgh, PA
Tuesday
January 28, 2003

Peaceful weekend pleases police, marchers

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

By Bob Batz Jr., Post-Gazette Staff Writer

All they were saying was, "Give peace a chance," and Pittsburgh did: The weekend Regional Convergence Against the War happened peaceably.

"I was just thrilled with the outcome of the weekend. ... It was a rousing success."

That's not from one of the protest organizers, but from Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Cmdr. William Valenta, who coordinated police response to the three-day mobilization against war with Iraq.

Despite the cold, the crowds and concerns about extremist acts, the convergence took place without an arrest. As Valenta explained yesterday, "A lot of things had a hand in that."

Key was communication, which the police started weeks ago with organizers from the Thomas Merton Center and the Pittsburgh Organizing Group.

Valenta also cited cooperation between city police and other agencies, including the state police, Allegheny County Police, Carnegie Mellon University police and University of Pittsburgh police, as well as the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

He said about 70 officers staffed Saturday's parade through the South Side, and about 100 covered Sunday's rally and march in Oakland.

Police estimated at least 1,500 participants Saturday and 5,000 Sunday, making for what many agreed was the biggest anti-war protest here in three decades.

Officials planned to make arrests only as a last resort -- a philosophy CMU Chief Creig Doyle summed up beforehand as "no harm, no foul."

Valenta said he can live with the one loss, a smashed window at an Oakland military recruiting center.

At the end of the Sunday activities, Valenta shook hands with Merton Center Executive Director Tim Vining. Vining thanked him.

"It's certainly rewarding to know that they held true to their word, and I think we held true to ours," Valenta said. "When you can build a rapport like that, if events happen in the future, both sides know they can trust each other."

"We are deeply grateful for the police" who "went beyond the call of duty" to enable participants to exercise their constitutional rights, Vining said.

Vining said the convergence went "beyond our expectations."

"I had people say it gave them hope for Pittsburgh as a community -- that we can actually organize something. It was not a football game kind of rah-rah, but a unifying thing."

Bob Batz Jr. can be reached at bbatz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1930.

Posted by Lisa at January 28, 2003 10:16 AM | TrackBack
Me A to Z (A Work In Progress)
Comments

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