For Immediate Release
Event: PPRC Friday Rally
Date: Friday, August 23rd, 2002
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square
PPRC Encouraged by Protests, Disappointed with Police Conduct
The PPRC's weekly rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday, August 23rd, at 5:00 p.m., will focus on the need for vocal and visible dissent from the Bush administration's war plans, and the recent attempts by Portland Police to suppress such dissent. "As many, many witnesses have now confirmed, the Portland Police turned to very heavy-handed tactics, using pepper spray and other aggressive means of 'pain compliance', in an effort to discourage the crowds from continuing the peaceful protests last night here in Portland," said Will Seaman of the PPRC. "We were all very proud of the courage and peaceful manner of the community that turned out to protest Bush's push for war and for a police state, and we were disappointed in the willingness of police to put even small infants at risk by their unrestrained and uncontrolled use of pepper spray." It has been reported that legal observers present at the protests will be taking concerns about police misconduct to city officials for review and discussions.
"It was wonderful to see such a large turnout for the protests," said Chris Roehm, the MC for the opening rally in the North Park Blocks. "Yesterday, on the streets surrounding Bush's corporate-interest fundraiser, there were organizations representing environmental, labor, peace and justice, social welfare, and many other issues important to Americans." Roehm said that the numbers suggest growing dissent in the United States against the direction of the Bush Administration. "We are constantly being told that the country is united behind Bush, and that he has overwhelming support for his policies," said Roehm. "It's clear that many Americans recognize that Bush is and has always been doing the bidding of the oil industry and the other corporate interests that have corrupted our political process." Many community organizations and affinity groups were involved in the planning and organization of the street protests. Among the protesters there was a strong feeling of cooperation and solidarity throughout the afternoon and evening.
At his recent concert in Portland, veteran balladeer Bruce Springsteen called on his audience to exercise their rights to dissent and to speak out, and warned against the threats to democracy and freedom here in the United States. It seems that many Portlanders took his advice to heart.
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