Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Protest groups decry G-20 mask safety legislation

PITTSBURGH - Protesters are urging Pittsburgh city council to vote against legislation the city wants in the name of public safety during the Group of 20 economic summit.

One ordinance would make it illegal for anyone to wear a mask to conceal their identity with the intent of committing a crime. Otherwise, masks are allowed.

Witold Walczak, the ACLU's legal director in Pennsylvania, says the bill is a pretext to detain people and would likely lead to lawsuits. He says it's difficult or impossible for police to determine someone's intent.

Council President Doug Shields spoke against the legislation, saying if council approves it, he'll buy and distribute 5,000 lunch bags with face holes cut out.

Council will consider the legislation next week.