[JURIST] Protesters took to Pittsburgh's streets Thursday in peaceful demonstrations calling attention to a range of global human rights issues on the first day of the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit [official websites]. A group of Tibetan protesters [WPXI report] from across the US held a march to call Chinese President Hu Jintao's attention to recent human rights abuses in that region [JURIST news archive]. The march is scheduled to continue Friday. Another group rallied for freedom to practice Falun Gong [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report], a religion whose followers face persecution in China [JURIST news archive]. On Pittsburgh's North Side, a group of Burmese monks marched in protest of human rights conditions in Myanmar [JURIST news archive]. The Coalition of Ethiopians for Human Rights marched downtown seeking fair elections [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report] in Ethiopia and the release of imprisoned opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa. Police presence has been increased throughout Pittsburgh, and some businesses, museums and educational institutions have boarded up or reinforced their windows along main thoroughfares in anticipation of continued protests that some fear might turn violent. Lawyers and trained legal observers [UPI report] from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy websites] have congregated in Pittsburgh to monitor interactions between police and protesters. US President Barack Obama will host a dinner for delegates Thursday night, and the summit will continue through Friday.
Earlier this week, a federal judge declined to issue an injunction [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report] in a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed against the City of Pittsburgh on behalf of two protest groups, alleging that police had violated their constitutional rights. Seeds of Peace and Three Rivers Climate Convergence (3RCC) [advocacy websites] claimed that police searched and seized members of the groups and their property in violation of the Fourth Amendment [text] and that police retaliated against members for exercising their right to free speech under the First Amendment [text]. Last week, the same judge ruled [JURIST report] that the City of Pittsburgh had to grant a permit allowing CodePink [advocacy website] to set up a tent city in a park days before the summit, but allowed the city to deny permits to two other protest groups.