G20 Protests, Underappreciated or Underwhelming?

One would think that holding the G20 in Pittsburgh would be the best way to keep the protesters away. It's a nice, quiet, conservative city that, as Sienna Miller once reminded us, doesn't exactly top the list of popular destinations.

Not today. The protesters have descended to herald in the start of the G20 summit, and reports are surfacing that cops are using rubber bullets and canisters of pepper gas to clamp down on rowdy crowds. We're keeping track of the action digitally─which is, we acknowledge, an imperfect medium. Still, by all appearances, the crowds have hardly come out in the droves that stormed London last time around. And they seem to be a bunch of angsty collegiate anarchists, hell-bent on causing a ruckus but no real match for the forces awaiting them. According to the HuffPo, cops are ordering "several hundred" protesters to stop their advance on the site of the summit, but had brought in several thousand extra law-enforcement officials to get the job done. Here are a few examples of the real-time updates, via Twitter:

Most of the photos seem to focus on this Free Tibet group, which makes for colorful, dramatic shots like this one from @stevebruskCNN:

But, meh. From a birds-eye view, they don't seem so compelling (credit to @technicolor_cat):

Meanwhile, @rsreed told us about an hour ago there were lots of arrests are being made at one corner, Butler and 34th.

Do we have the wrong read on this? Have the evidence to the contrary? Has the crackdown been unwarranted and/or unnecessarily violent? If you have shots or stories from Pittsburgh, post 'em in the comments.

Also, we'll have a wonkier post about the goings-on inside the G20 for you tomorrow, so stay tuned.