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Protest in Portland - bystanders account

a bystander's account of the PEACEFUL protest
Dear Friends,

Never before have I been so irritated with the mainstream media. I honestly do not think that I can believe anything reported by the 3 major networks or NPR/OPB.
Yesterday the pResident visited my city. At a protest in downtown Portland, I witnessed several instances of completely unnecessary police brutality. The police used slow release tear gas, pepper spray, their clubs, and rubber bullets to manipulate the crowd. The crowd was PEACEFUL, simply attempting to exercise the 1st Amendment rights to which we are all entitled. The riot cops arbitrarily moved baracades to push back the crowd (with no explanation for doing so) and then later let the crowd into the same areas from which the police had previously prohibited entrance. To accomplish this innane movement of the crowd, the police declared a "state of emergency," which as far as I can tell equates to martial law. After declaring a "state of emergency" and announcing that we were to clear out of the block (this message having been broadcast on a not very effective PA, meaning many people could not hear or understand the demands) the police let loose with loads of pepper spray.
Earlier in the day, friends and I had the misfortune of being separated from the larger group of protesters as the police corralled our small group of about 150 people toward the entrance of the Morrison bridge. At this point we were surrounded by cops on all sides. There was nowhere we could go, and fucking AP reports that the protesters were blocking the entrance to the bridge. We had been corralled for fuck's sake. According to the AP report, the crowd's unwillingness to give up control of the intersection, merited the use of pepper spray. What really happened? Well, some of the protesters tried to walk away from the intersection (not toward the bridge, mind you), and the police just opened fire with huge canisters of pepper spray, from which they could shoot a constant stream a distance of about 15 feet. Needless to say, I ran like hell in the other direction. During this instance of indiscriminate spraying, a 3 year old child was hit. The police did nothing to provide medical assistance for the child. About five minutes later, the police allowed the the protesters to move down the same street to which we had moments before been denied access.
I must say that Channel 12 TV news did a fairly honest job of reporting the events, largely because one of their camerawomen was a victim of the indiscriminate pepper spraying. The three major networks and OPB, however, made it sound as if the protesters were inciting the violence. The Oregonian featured a picture of protesters on a police car and implied that the protesters were the cause of violence. I was at the protest for more than four hours and did not see protesters harrassing police, only the exact opposite. Granted some of the rowdies jumped on police cars when the police attempted to drive through the crowd to disperse it. But every instance of police force that I witnessed was unprovoked.
The encouraging news is that there were significant numbers of protesters. Although the major networks would have us believe that there were "hundreds of protesters," it was obvious that the crowd numbered more than a thousand. I would estimate there were between 1,500 and 2,000 people at the peak of protest activity - a pretty nice showing. Too bad it's not getting coverage because the moneyed assholes who pay $25,000 dollars to have their picture taken with Dubya are part of the same ruling oligarchy that owns and operates the major media outlets.
OK enough ranting. We all need to continue or begin to take action. Our vote means little; therefore, exercise you 1st Amendment rights while you still can. Make your opinion known; write to your Senators, Representatives in Congress and your local newspaper (if it will print anything besides the wishes of the corporation that owns it), and above all, take to the streets with your signs and your songs.
I am sorry about the lack of eloquence in this letter, but I'm fucking pissed off.
Thanks for the report 23.Aug.2002 12:18

Todd

Your report of the bridge incident was accurate (I was the "press" person behind police lines, unfortunately my pics came out weird and I ran out of batteries). I will post the rest soon :)

On NPR/OPB: They mysteriously have the reputation for being a "liberal" media source. From Linda Gradstein's acceptance of "donations" from sources of conflicting interests, to their support of NAB lobbying to crush local low power radion, NPR is corrupt corporate-government propaganda. Thats my opinion, let it be known.

thanks, Andy! 23.Aug.2002 12:33

soup

Andy, the hell with the mainstream media-YOU are the media and I'm grateful that
you wrote your account. It's people like you that keep us really informed-gracias!

great account! 23.Aug.2002 12:46

rockin

The mainstream media is corrupt and little more than a propaganda arm for big money elites.

Indymedia is the place where people can document events and express themselves without the taint of big money.

Great account!

BS 23.Aug.2002 13:28

Taylor

This is BS. I was fucking there. When the police tell people to back up, just fucking back up. We're there to protest not to make a god-damned scene. The only reports the workingclass people will see will be that of a bunch of windowbusting idiots.....again. And the reason is because no one in the struggle can seem to put on their fucking thinking caps before we go out to protest.

Thank you 23.Aug.2002 13:36

Matty rimquiv@easystreet.com

Andy,

Thanks for your accurate report. I wasn't at the bridge, so it was really good to hear what happened there. I was on Broadway when they declared the "State of Emergency" and started in the the pepper spray and you've reported it just as it happened. No provacation by protesters, just violent coercion by the police.

I will NOT OBEY! 23.Aug.2002 13:45

me

Taylor wrote:
> When the police tell people to back up, just fucking back up.

No. I will not obey.

If they want to declare an emergency and threaten everyone with arrest if they don't disperse, and we don't disperse, then arrest for chrissake!

When they use shotguns, chemical weapons and clubs to simply push people around, I will not obey!

Pathetic Portland 23.Aug.2002 14:16

Saphira

ooohh... it's all so dramatic. I especially love the mothers who cover their own faces and hold their babies in front of them as shields, not to mention exposing them to the vile, profane screaming of the righteous "peace-lovers." Yes, it is indeed so peaceful and "loving." I saw a lot of "love." In other words, the biggest group of ignorant haters this side of darkness. So convincing when you wear "corporate" clothes, talk like Valley girls, and carry signs made of wood products. oooohhh...

Educating Saphira 23.Aug.2002 15:20

active living (as opposed to passive living)

First of all, if you weren't there.....well, you know where you can shove your negative opinions of citizens who take action on behalf of Democracy.

Second, your interpretation of the facts is ignorant.

1) The cops were the instigaors of violence, not the civillians, so if anyone screamed at the cops, it was out of panic and fear.

2)The atmosphere of the demonstration before the cops opened fire was festive and calm, and in no way too intense for children.

3) Using babies as shields is a flat out lie. The cops could clearly see children present, and opened fire anyway, as per official crowd-control policy (shoot everything that moves, especially the press), and any diliberate display of children was only to remind the establishment who the anti-Bush Americans really are; families and real people.

4) Who cares what the demonstrators were wearing? You don't know where they shop. They could be wearing hand-me-downs or thrift-store goods.

5) Who cares what their accents sound like? We should be greateful that middle-class America cares about the issues!

6) The materials used to make those signs are re-used and recycled, so I call bullshit on all those naysayers who accuse activists of hypocracy.

You can sit by and welcome the apocalypse like a good little consumer, or you can help us take back our world. If all you can do is criticize activists, go find a website where everyone agrees with YOU, and let us get some work done!

Another witness 23.Aug.2002 15:29

John

Let me try and set straigt some of this garbage and give my own personal account

"I was fucking there. When the police tell people to back up, just fucking back up." -Taylot


I don't know which part of this tripe to dissect first. One, the PA system the Police used to issue the announcment, that some vague "emergency" was occuring and everyone should move back, was near useless as it barely approached the din of people cheering, druming and laughing, and could not be heard by the half thousand people in the streets. How exactly do 500 people all move backward at once? How many seconds did the cops give us to move? What one incident led to the first use of tear gas? Who gave the orders for this "emergency"? What was the "emergency" which led to the orders to move the crowd? If you can answer these questions I may begin to believe your account. This does not even mention the fact that the police to not have the authority to make people move unless there is a true emergency and peoples live were at risk (given our first amendment rights).



"I especially love the mothers who cover their own faces and hold their babies in front of them as shields, not to mention exposing them to the vile, profane screaming of the righteous "peace-lovers." -Saphira

Talk about a vile and profane statement.

A Song For Taylor... 23.Aug.2002 16:50

Varro

"God Save the Queen." If people decided to "just back the fuck up" 200+ years ago, that would be your national anthem.

thanks andy... 23.Aug.2002 17:26

n

We were also in the smaller, trapped group by the morrison bridge. I completely concur with all the statements Andy made about the fact that we were pretty much blocked on all sides. There was a postal worker in his delivery truck clapping along, and smiling while the PEACEFUL crowd danced around him. It was great and all the energy was good at least from where we were standing on the southwest corner. If there was a warning about the gas I sure didn't hear it. A few hours later at the evening by the Heathman they declared and emergency and pushed people back using a VERY loud VERY clear megaphone that was very effective in warning us even half a block away. So why wasn't a warning given at the bridge?
Also Saphira, There was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that family would have had any reason to suspect that their kids would be gassed. How dare you make generalizations about those parents using the kids as a sheild. I suppose thinking that only the BAD people and their offspring are oppressed helps you sleep better at night and continue about your buisness as a cog in the war machine without feeling a twinge of guilt or responsibility. Wake the fuck up!

thanks andy... 23.Aug.2002 17:27

n

We were also in the smaller, trapped group by the morrison bridge. I completely concur with all the statements Andy made about the fact that we were pretty much blocked on all sides. There was a postal worker in his delivery truck clapping along, and smiling while the PEACEFUL crowd danced around him. It was great and all the energy was good at least from where we were standing on the southwest corner. If there was a warning about the gas I sure didn't hear it. A few hours later at the evening by the Heathman they declared and emergency and pushed people back using a VERY loud VERY clear megaphone that was very effective in warning us even half a block away. So why wasn't a warning given at the bridge?
Also Saphira, There was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that family would have had any reason to suspect that their kids would be gassed. How dare you make generalizations about those parents using the kids as a sheild. I suppose thinking that only the BAD people and their offspring are oppressed helps you sleep better at night and continue about your buisness as a cog in the war machine without feeling a twinge of guilt or responsibility. Wake the fuck up!

What a pathetic bunch of jerks 23.Aug.2002 20:39

Bush Admirer

This whole Bush protest exercise is just ridiculous.

It reminds me of the 1960's in Berkeley. Remember those unwashed, body pierced, tattoed, extremely dumb hippies who protested everything and anything? They didn't have a clue. They still don't. Remember Jane Fonda and her husband Dipshit who protested the Vietnam war?

What we have here is a collection of losers who want to deflect blame for their own inadequacies.

If you can't make it in the real world then why not blame someone else? Why not blame President Bush?

What's curious is that you just missed your chance for legitimacy by four or five years. A short time ago you could have protested against Bill and Hillary Clinton and your aggrivations would have been on target.

But now you're looking like the fool.

I wonder what you so admire about bush? 24.Aug.2002 09:45

curio

that he was born rich and powerful?

that's *precisely* it, curio 24.Aug.2002 15:51

you nailed the "Bush Admirer"

it's his own form of penis envy--

he knows that all he can ever be in his rabid Republican life is a pathetic little cheerleader dronepawn of the real big boys, who are millionaires many times over.

he'll never even come close to their power and wealth. all he can ever be is their bootlickin' beeyatch.

and he posts here on Portland IMC to feed that aspect of his sad existence.

obeying the police 24.Aug.2002 17:21

soup to nuts

There is a point at which a protest can become a quarrantine, and then a siege. If you are there simply to protest, then you should back up when the police tell you to. But if the plan is to quarrantine the object of protest (keep him/them from leaving the building), or siege the object of protest (force him/them to run away) the best atmosphere is one that the police are unable to control the people.

Use different tactics for different objectives.

Huh-Rah Get the truth out there! 26.Aug.2002 18:50

Jeremy E Laughery jel3@students.uwf.edu

Our Constitution is being Eroded by the very Power "We The People" have trusted. It is time to regain control.

Problem: Riot teams invade inocent Citizens.
Reaction: The People must rebute against this tyranny.
Outcome: Prosperity in the Several States United.

Most will not listen to the truth because they are brainwashed by evil media including many schools.

Problem: Inacurate media brainwashes the People.
Reaction: Get involved in protests against lies from the media.
Outcome: Prosperity in the Several States United.

Most are not educated enough to know better.

Problem: Lack of education in society.
Reaction: Provide supplemental education to your young.
Outcome: Prospeity in the Several States United.

Our Sovereignty is being taken by the very kind of animals
that tried it before. Those attempts will be foiled by GOD.

"Many will turn away from the problem. Others stand and never see the problem. Few, if any, would fight to their death to salvage the "Many Others". I am one of few."
Jeremy E. Laughery

General Delivery Milton, Florida 32570

Whose bright idea? 26.Aug.2002 23:53

Lynn

So whose bright idea was it to steer the parade into a police barricade on 6th? I had enjoyed the parade up to that point and was glad I was in it. But when I saw what was happening at 6th I knew trouble was coming and had sense enough to leave. Fortunate that I was near the end of the parade and could leave. I think a lot of the people piled up against the barricade didn't even know what was happening. If you want a confrontation with the police that's okay, but don't involve the rest of us in it without our consent. I probably won't go to the next parade. The organizers appear to be incompetant.