Five Arrested During Rally Against Homophobia
BLOOMFIELD (KDKA) — Pittsburgh police arrested five people participating in a rally against homophobia last night in Bloomfield.
A woman organized the rally after someone allegedly threatened her with a gun outside the Pleasure Bar on Liberty Avenue Tuesday night because she was holding hands with another woman.
“Pointed a gun at my face and held it there for a minute or two and then he probably realized if he kept holding it there somebody would see, so he put it back in his pants and then proceeded to threaten to pistol-whip me,” Lauren Jurysta said in a video posted online.
She says the man came out of the Pleasure Bar with several others.
Police were called to the corner of Liberty Avenue and Cedarville Street shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday for a group of about 100 protestors blocking the sidewalks and obstructing traffic.
According to authorities, the rally’s organizers failed to register for the proper permits and never alerted police about the gathering.
“According to the police report, the officers gave several warnings for the crowd to disperse and they didn’t do so at the time,” Diane Richards, a Pittsburgh police spokesperson, said. “Once again, the supervisor gave them the options to either continue to move or take it to Friendship Park.”
While most of the protestors complied with officers’ instructions to move the rally to nearby Friendship Park, police say about a dozen others ignored their warnings — continuing to block the roadways and refusing to disperse.
Officers arrested four men and one woman. Among them was David Japenga who was arrested for breaking windows during the G-20 Summit, causing $14,000 in damage.
He was on probation when he was arrested in Wednesday’s protest.
After the arrests, about 40 protestors moved to Friendship Park to finish their rally.