The G-20 summit on Sept. 24 and 25 will bring world leaders to Pittsburgh. It promises to be a great moment for Pittsburgh, but one that could easily be spoiled -- the last G-20 summit in London in April attracted tens of thousands of protesters.
As stories in the Post-Gazette last week made clear, Pittsburgh police are training for the worst even as would-be demonstrators are planning their own mass actions. Before the battle lines are drawn, we offer a modest suggestion.
Guests and dignitaries coming to a new city often are given visitor packages describing local amenities, history and the like. Could not would-be protesters submit position papers on their grievances that could be given to the visiting heads of state?
Could not a little time be made in the busy official schedule to let representatives of those with grievances meet with those visitors who are interested? (If the leaders themselves can't come, perhaps aides can carry the message back.)
Whatever happens, police are still going to have to prepare for the worst. The point is that perhaps a little gesture of good will could pay big dividends by helping defuse what could shape up as a nasty conflict. In the end it may not work, but Pittsburgh will look better for trying.