And so it begins: False rumors, claims of police harassment on the rise | Slag Heap

And so it begins: False rumors, claims of police harassment on the rise

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The G-20 is still several days away, but fear-mongering -- and possibly police harassment as well -- are already in full swing.

On Friday afternoon, city police impounded a bus used by Missoula, Montana-based group Seeds of Peace. Our very own Marty Levine says the bus was one of two that were parked along Melwood Avenue in Polish Hill, and that are used to provide meals to demonstrators.

We'll have more details in next week's print edition, but Seeds of Peace members say that while the buses were parked legally, police towed away one vehicle because its owner of record was not present. After the owner arrived, the group was able to retrieve the bus -- from the city tow pound, after paying a $200 towing fee. 

According to activists, one person was arrested during the incident, cited for not properly identifying herself to authorities. (The arrestee gave her first name as "Thea," when her full name is "Cynthia.")

We're hearing other scattered rumors of police giving protesters a hard time, and Seeds of Peace told us the ACLU will be filing a lawsuit on Monday morning because of the incident. Reached Saturday afternoon, the ACLU's Vic Walczak would only say, "I can't confirm any lawsuit." But that falls a bit short of a denial, you'll note, so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, fear of what the G-20 will bring is on the rise. As I type this, workers are nailing plywood boards over all the ground-floor windows of our Downtown office building. And I've spent a few hours chasing down rumors of anarchist activity, all of which have proven false.

For example, word has gone around that a group of protesters have already been rousted by police from Allegheny Cemetery, where the protesters were supposedly camping out. I spoke with Thomas Roberts, president of the cemetery, who said it was not true. 

"You're telling me something I don't know," Roberts said when asked about the rumor. "I've been working here 35 years. We don't get a lot of campers."

"I drive through the cemetery almost every day, and I haven't seen anything" unusual, Roberts added. Although "I wouldn't be surprised if somebody tried something Wednesday or Thursday night."

I wouldn't either. But let's try to keep a grip until then, at least. OK?

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