Occupy Pittsburgh Protesters
Assail All Manner of Enemies
By Sadie Gurman and Jonathan D. Silver
Oct 16, 2011 – A disparate group of Occupy Pittsburgh protesters in tents and sleeping bags settled into Mellon Green on Saturday night after a day in which about 2,000 protesters peacefully crisscrossed Downtown and far fewer readied to stay put for as long as they could.
The events were one of several regional offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York City and has inspired protests in Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle and other cities. Those involved decry what they describe as a number of social, political and economic ills spawned by corporate greed and governmental corruption.
"When you spend four years in the military and you come back and you see the way things are being run, you get pretty angry about it," said Joshua Heidecker, 28, of Erie, a U.S. Marine who said the majority of veterans he knows are fed up with corporate influences in government. He was with several other young veterans in partial uniform.
In the afternoon, the demonstrators set up camp on Mellon Green, a stretch of grass at Grant Street and Sixth Avenue that’s owned by BNY Mellon. The Green turned to mud within a few minutes of their arrival just after 4 p.m. They gathered around a loudspeaker, where a man faced the towering BNY Mellon building and announced, "We are not below you, as we are today. We are above you. We are the 99 percent!"
He looked back at the cheering crowd.
"Thank you for occupying Pittsburgh! Do not give up the fight!"
Some of the protests in other cities have ended in mass arrests, but in Pittsburgh, police reported no major incidents, property damage or arrests by day’s end.