Local military robotics center shut down by protest

On Friday March 2nd the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and other activists from Pittsburgh, Ohio, and Chicago came together early in the morning to protest Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center. Organizing under the slogan "Barricade the War Machine," they succeeded in hutting down the Lawrenceville facility for the day.  NREC is a largely Pentagon-funded venture of CMU, and it has become a world leader in warfare robotics.

In order to disrupt the normal proceedings at NREC, a blockade of their front and rear entrances was organized.  A tripod, which suspended an activist 15 feet in the air, also prevented people from entering the building. In total, thirty-four people blockaded the main entrances to the facility in the largest act of civil disobedience in Pittsburgh since the war in Iraq began. For several hours, police were unable to cut the protestors loose, which allowed the blockade to last for over 5 hours.

Members of POG are declaring the action a success. As of 4:00 AM, on Saturday March 3rd, all 14 arrestees were arraigned and released. They are being charged with failure to disperse, obstruction of a public highway, and possession of instruments of a crime with criminal intent. Those who live in the Pittsburgh area were released on their own recognizance, while non-locals had to post a $100 bail. Their hearing will take place March 8th.

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