October 22 is a nationally recognized day of protest against police brutality. Events were planned all over the country. In Portland, about two dozen passionate young people gathered at 21st NE and Alberta for a local observance. Carrying handmade signs, and led by a young woman dressed as a raven, they marched throughout this mixed-race neighborhood, taking the streets most of the way. They brought with them a large puppet of the Grim Reaper, which represented the connections between corporate power and the "criminal justice system". |
Reception by people in the neighborhood was positive for the most part, with many honking their horns as they drove past the small parade. Police presence was nil at the beginning of the march, but inexplicably heavy by the end. The first officer who arrived halted the parade by grabbing the arm of the puppet [pictured, above]. He then ordered everybody onto the sidewalk, but they quickly took the street again. In contrast to previous occasions, the officers did not attempt to break up the event, and the young people successfully made their statement for justice.
Update:The police, in a seemingly petty move, confiscated the giant puppet, which had been carried during parades in other cities, including Seattle in November 99.
Newswire reports: [ "Police Accountability March" | "god bless the black bloc" ]
More information: [ October 22 Coalition | Portland Copwatch | IMC News Blast on Prison-Industrial Complex ]