Saturday, March 15, 2008

Post-Game: March 15th Protest

For great justice: if anyone has links to photo or video of the event in Pittsburgh, please leave comments on this post and I will add your links to the list at the end of this recap.

Well, the weather was somewhat better this time, thankfully. We peaked at around 35 anons, though some were coming and going throughout the day so its hard to say if there were 35 or more unique participants in total.

We got off to a bit of a rough start, as the owner of a shop near the sidewalk where we were gathering called the police to report a disturbance, and she accused us of blocking the sidewalk. A police officer showed up and Xenu and I spoke to him - he was really nice about it and basically didn't even make us move, although we did spread out down the street just to avoid future problems.

And, of course, there were drunks. We got there at 11 in the morning, and the drunks beat us there. For most the day, the drunks just found us amusing and screamed obscenities about Tom Cruise to the crowd. We saw a few of them stagger into the Scientology bookstore briefly, and I'm not sure what exactly came of that.

We had 30+ Anons sing "Happy Birthday" to L. Ron on video, which I assume will be found on YouTube by nightfall.

Again, they had a police officer stationed outside their store for the entire day. He seemed to like us, though. One Anon went over to offer him a piece of our birthday cake we dedicated to L. Ron after our song. He declined, but was very nice and told us to "have fun."

Also, when he left in his car toward the end of the protest, he honked for our signs (as did many others throughout the day). Epic win there.

There were two figures defending CoS that appeared and spoke to Anon during the day. Both were ostensibly on the South Side to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, based on the way they were dressed.

The first one was extremely polite and strongly defended Scientology's beliefs and said they helped him clear his mind and such. I spoke to him extensively, and I urged him to check out the Free Zone. He didn't outright the deny the cases I brought up, like Lisa McPherson's, though he did say they were only "mistakes." By the end of our talk, he said he would look into the Free Zone. I asked him if he'd be willing to divulge whether he was a member of the Church of Scientology or just a supporter of some of their beliefs, and he said that he was not a member, and he enjoyed learning about all kinds of beliefs. We shook hands before he left and he said I seemed very smart.

The other man who came and debated with members of Anon was not quite so polite as the first, though I mainly just listened to this one from the sidelines, since a small group had already gathered around him and started a dialogue. He seemed as though he was more interested in criticizing us for being there than he was in convincing us of the merits of Scientology, and again, he may or may not have been involved with them. He was with a friend dressed up in festive St. Patty's day stuff, so he may just have been a legit passerby. He didn't leave us on the best terms, and I saw a lot of frustration going on in that conversation. I'll leave further explanation to some of the Anons who actually spoke with this man extensively, and post here once I get details from them. (Edit: this guy confirmed unaffiliated with CoS; just looking for an argument.)

A woman stopped to talk to me and a few others when she saw the protest, and said that when she was living in Boston, her husband got involved with Scientology and they attempted to pressure her into joining and she couldn't stand it. We gave her some of our handouts and the URL for enturbulation's forums, and she said she'd be interested in writing up something about her experience and posting it there, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that. She told us she definitely supported us, as well.

Also, we had a very popular dancing Anon with speakers strapped to his belt. The drunks just loved that guy. He definitely kept morale up.

We pretty much ran out of fliers by around 4-4:30, and cleared out shortly thereafter, because the drunks were starting to get belligerent and curse at the protesters for no apparent reason.

One of our Anons went over to the CoS building when we heard they might be handing out DVDs about our hate crimes. They gave him a DVD, The Way to Happiness (not a hate crime one), and an amusing pamphlet about drugs that referred to Ritalin as "kiddie cocaine" and "Skittles." An Anon then went to Rite Aid and purchased Skittles for everyone.

The YouTube reporter who's been covering this, giv3m3truth, went over to the CoS building as well, after he taped interviews with us, and asked them if they'd like to make a statement about their stance on the protest. They refused, said something to the effect of "their actions speak for themselves" and shooed him out of there. Way to go, Scientology.

If anyone's got experiences to share that I missed here, comment please.

Media Coverage and Other Documentation of Great Justice:

WPXI Main Page slideshow

This is Pittsburgh

Brief (friendly) encounter with police after a storeowner complaint.

giv3m3truth's coverage


Anonymous said...

I was one of the anon that was talking with the more belligerent of the two. He wasn't associated with Scientology at all. In fact, he hated it. He was just looking for an argument. Basically his argument was "if they're stupid enough to join, then fuck them", but we argued that they weren't stupid and just not informed. He was too drunk to argue coherently and his friend apologized for him. :P
-Bearded Anon

Miss Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks for the update.

giv3m3truth said...

To be fair, I wouldn't say they shooed me, but I did get the feeling they didn't want me around for long, but they might have just nor believed that I was who I said.

Also, I have to say as an observer, it seemed like there was something missing from today. Out of the people we asked to talk two us, only 3 or 4 actually did, which wasn't a problem at all (I understand it may have been an issue of anonimity), but two or three actually laughed in our faces, which I have to say I didn't much apprciate.

To them or any other future protesters:
I know we're not the mainstream media, or even local news stations, and you guys don't have to take us entirely seriously, nor do I expect to be taken entirely seriously all the time, but you could at least humor us a little, just say no comment or something.

Anyway, it wasn't a big deal, just a little annoying. A very big thank you to the PR Anons and the others who were respectful to us. I enjoyed covering your event and hope to do so in the future. :)

PS: Video update: All the clip are on my computer, but I'm going to take my time editing, I want this to be good.Oh and sorry my interview questions weren't quite as good this time, I've been busy and didn't have proper time to prepare.

Miss Anonymous said...

Yeah, I had no idea there were actually Anons who laughed in your face, and I have to say, that was really lame. You've done a lot of work trying to publicize this and that was completely unfair of them to do. Anyway, I hope your footage turns out as well as last time, and I'll be happy to post links of it here when you're finished.

Anonymous said...

We got lost and totally missed the whole thing by 30 minutes. :(

Miss Anonymous said...

To the lost Anonymous: from what I saw, traffic is horrible, and I'm not sure what's up with the Birmingham Bridge construction/detours at this point, so I don't blame you.

But we'll be there on April 12, and I hope you'll make it!

TheBlackPhantom said...

I was the one that went inti the Co$ bookstore and got the free DVD. All it is is just 21 public service announcements. A few of them were decent, many ironic considering the Co$ was supporting it, 9 out of 10 were highly over-exagerated, and all were designed to make one think that Scientology was in 100% support of improving the world and bringing society together.

There was one where Scientology was trying to say that people need to respect all religious beliefs across the world and to view them as equal. I found it humerous considering that Co$ practically preasures the family of its members to become Scientologists or else.

The most exagerated clip was the first one where this guy was on a game show where he had to one one of three "prizes": enough alcohol to kill you, every drug that you could possibly imagine being sold on the street, or his family & self dignity/respect. It was 37% cheesy, 41% retarded, and 22% epic lame.

The DVD was obviously a recrutment tactic, being free and morally rightous in content. I'm just glad that I got to it before someone ignorant about Co$ picked it up and fell into their trap, unaware that joining the group would cost them almost $400,000 to reach 'clear'.

Miss Anonymous said...

Wow, and nice job grabbing that DVD, too. Unsurprising material, but I'm still curious about this alleged "hate crimes" video that was being handed out elsewhere.

BeardedAnon said...

I would still like to see this video. You should put up a few good mirrors and Digg it.

Miss Anonymous said...

Seconded. And it'll last all of five minutes before they take it down.

But they will be five minutes of great, great justice.

Skittles for everyone.

banana girl said...

Sorry about not commenting, but I borrowed the banana suit from work and I've got a pretty distinctive voice, a YouTube comment might kill my plausible deniability and cost me my job.

Wish I hadn't had to leave so early. Keep fighting the good fight!

giv3m3truth said...

I'm still putting my video together... I'll be up all night... Anyway in reviewingthe footage, I think that saying they laughed in our faces (the camera guys were there too) was a small exaggeration. They did laugh at us, but it wasn't that harsh. Hope I didn't seem like tight ass.

Miss Anonymous said...

Nah, you were fine. It's been a long day, we're probably all a little high-strung right now.

I know I've been cranky all night because my throat hurts from girlish shrieking.

Anon said...

Great job, guys! I actually think we might have hit 40 or more, because I tried to get a head-count at one point, when everyone seemed to be standing still, and hit 20 about half-way down the line before they all started moving again and I gave up all hope of keeping track of who I'd counted.

Also, giv3m3truth, I hope you don't think I was laughing at you... I was the one with all the extra signs and the V hat, and I started laughing while you were interviewing me, but it was at Dancing Guy who was being funny behind you, not at you. I was a little nervous, though, because you kinda caught me off guard there, but it was all good.

I also was in the group talking to the belligerent 'debater' guy, and I'm pretty sure that he was just drunk. Had he been sober, we might actually have gotten our point through to him, I suspect, because he did seem to be reasonably intelligent. Oh, well, maybe his friend will remind him of how much of an ass he made of himself when he sobers up.

-Many Signs

giv3m3truth said...

No Many Signs, I don't think it was you, it was... well you'll see in the video. I hope you guys don't tkae me pointing them out (in the vid) the wrong way, but 1) I need to kind of make a statement that I don't take that kind of thing when I'm being serious and 2) I kind of showed my true colors last time, so I had to be more unbiased this time, i.e. showing the less than nice anons...

Dammit I just realized I really worded that part of the voice over badly... I exaggerated it (uninteionally) I'll put a note in the video description to clear things up... Tomorrow when I can think straight. Las tcomment of the night, I swear @_@

TheBlackPhantom said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, at the protest I made a very unique sign, in which I got the idea for after reading the Scientology's Drug Pamphlet. It gave a little overview of how drugs were bad and then listed the drugs in which it thought that people shouldn't consume (or at least a few of them). While other anons made fun (ok, I also participated in this) of the Ritiline (AKA Kiddie Cocaine) page where it listed street names such as 'diet coke' & 'skittles' by buying some from the convienent store two buildings down, I decided in the spirit of St. Pat's Day that I'd make a sign that really got people's attention.

The first item on the list was alcohol. Yes, that is right, Scientology stated that people shouldn't consume alcohol. I personally never plan to consume that stuff for personal reasons, but to most people, alcohol is the best damn legal drug they can get their hands on. That's why I made the sign "Scientology is against ALCOHOL."

It really helped get the drunks on our side by grabbing their attention. After their attention was grabbed, fellow anonymous were able to give them fliers (and hopefully they weren't too drunk that they would have memory loss).

Austin Cline said...

Talk about bad timing... I drove by and saw that there were still people there (maybe a half dozen or so), parked a couple of blocks away, returned... and everyone was gone! It had been my intention to take pictures and create a nice image gallery. A few minutes after I arrived, a new group of five protesters came and stayed for a bit. They were bummed that the rest of you were already gone, but they got lots of honks from cars and a few words of support from passers-by.

I took pictures of them, but there just wasn't enough variety to allow for a full image gallery.

I know, it would have been much better to come earlier in the day, but it just wasn't possible. If I can come on April 12, I will be sure to arrive earlier (would 1PM have been a good time?). I can use what little I have now with whatever I take in the future.

ManySigns said...

Yeah, I took that sign home with me, it's in my stack of signs sitting on my couch. That really got a lot of support from the partiers, though many of them weren't sober enough to realize you were protesting Scientology, not promoting it.


*nods* k, I was kinda worried there for a minute. Anyway, I was really glad to see you there, the more news coverage we can get, even if it isn't a national or even local news service (though it could be argued that you're an international news service, and so trump the former two). Looking forward to the vid!

Cobranon said...

Man, after everyone dispersed, I made the mistake of walking through the alleyway behind the store. The mustache guy and the balding dude were back there smoking cigarettes.

Of course I was still carrying my sign. They glared, I gave them a peace sign. F--king awkward.


Anonymous said...

Dancing Man, if you are watching. You need to perfect the wall backflip.

Miss Anonymous said...

cobranon: ouch, yeah, awkward. It's always perplexed me a bit, how many of them seem to smoke. I've visited the South Side on non-Anonymous related matters several times this year, and I almost always see one of them on the stoop having a smoke when I walk by. I'm pretty sure they're Scns, too, because most of them go back inside the bookstore.

Cobranon said...

Maybe cause they had to give up all the good drugs, so they're now essentially recovering addicts, in dire need of a crutch. Like us all... Like us all...

Not slandering them. Just speculating on why they still use a mood altering drug.


Miss Anonymous said... familiarity with legitimate drug rehabilitation is limited as I've never experienced it firsthand, but I have seen cigarettes used as a crutch.

I just find it odd that alcohol and Ritalin are bannable but nicotine and tobacco are okay.

ManySigns said...

Isn't smoking out-ethics, too?

giv3m3truth said...

Manysigns: I can't say, but I don't think so (I'm hoping what I'm about to say doesn't compromise journalistic integrity in anyway) When I went inside there was a pack of Marlboros (is I still recognize my smokes) right there on the table, it obviously belonged to one of them.

Cobranon said...

That's interesting considering the psychological impacts of nicotine withdrawl and addiction. Not that it's hardcore, but it's still there.

What else is ironic about the situation, is that under the long term effects of Marijuana in their little booklet, they mention psychotic symptoms briefly and then mainly focus on the negative impact on your heart and lungs...

440,000 people a year? Anyone?


PS- And yeah, I still smoke.

Miss Anonymous said...

Yeah, I really have no opinion one way or the other on cigarettes. I don't smoke, but I don't nag people who do either.

It's just ironic to me, that in many ways they're more damaging than alcohol, Ritalin, or maybe even weed, and they're not even mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Pictures from the event from the WV Crew :)