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actions & protests | police / legal a22: bush protest

Fifth and Taylor -- My Story

One person's account of what happened last evening at the corner of Fifth and Taylor.
I figured I'd add my account of what happened when pepper spray and rubber bullets (mention of the latter seems to be copiously absent from the corporate media even though I have two "souveniers" from last evening that prove rubber bullets were used). This is gonna be as short and sweet as I can make it, since I don't have time for a long detailed story.

There was a bunch (didn't try to count 'em) of city blocks barricaded off by the police last afternoon and evening. All the barricades I observed were of the interlocking metal crowd-control type. That, plus the fact that the individual barricade units had been fastened together using those mass-arrest type hand restraints that look like giant cable ties would allow a reasonable person to conclude that the barricades were in those locations were unlikely to be opened up or moved, at least not as long as the court-appointed "president" (oh dear, is my bias showing?) remained in town.

The barricades I observed were all in the middle of the blocks, leaving dead-end "stub" streets where demonstraters congregating. As a number of blocks were so barricaded, there were lots of these stubs that demonstrators were spread out amongst. This might partially account for many of the accounts of the number of protesters in the corporate media being low: reporters may have only seen a subset of the areas were demonstrations were occurring.

The demonstrators were not evenly spread amongst the barricades:
as I rode around the perimeter of the barricaded-off blocks on my
bicycle I encountered a much larger than normal crowd at the corner
of Fifth and Taylor. I ended up lingering there as well. Because
of the crowd already there, I never got close to the barricade a
half-block west on Taylor, that street stub already being packed.
I was in the intersection area itself. The crowd was spilling out
of that intersection and a part of a block both ways up Fifth and
east on Taylor as well.

After I had been there a while, a rumor erupted that the riot cops
were coming down Taylor. Panic. Everyone starts running east.
False alarm.

Ten minutes or so after the false alarm, I hear sirens, the sound
of rubber bullets being discharged, and the sound of people banging
on the sides of squad cars that are forcing their way south on
Fifth, throigh the intersection, then west on Taylor. At the same
time, people are moving east on Taylor away from what I assume
(since I never observed it directly at or before that time) was a
set of crowd-control barricades similar to all the others I observed.

Accompanying that chaos was the smell of either tear gas or pepper
spray Since I've never personally smelled either, I don't know
which it was. It had much more of a chemical smell than a peppery
smell to me. Not wanting to experience any more of its effects,
I headed south on Fifth as fast as I reasonably could.

It was over soon after that. I went back to the intersection area
and picked up two rubber bullets as souveniers. The large crowd
eventually proceeded to other barricades, accompanied by what I
presume was the Infernal Noise Brigade (or some other collection
of percussion instruments). I followed them, then had to head on
to other engagements that night. When I passed by the now
sparsly-populated corner of Fifth and Taylor, I noticed that the
crowd-control barricades which I presume had been further up Taylor
had been moved to the edge of the intersection.

phone: phone: 503-916-1658
address: address: Portland, OR

Look elsewhere, friends. 23.Aug.2002 13:53

No-Doz Bukowski

Folks, if you want some good eyewitness accounts of the push at 5th and Taylor which included the rubber bullets/pepper spraying of children and press/attack on the police cars; check out the article about CNN's news coverage of the event. There are several more thorough eyewitness accounts under the CNN article, which explain how the cops first began to move forward as well as how and when the protesters attacked the police cruisers. The decision to spotlight this sketchy account is perplexing to say the least.

5000. - N.

CNN is SEE-ING-US 23.Aug.2002 14:52

Todd

Note the reference in their article "Portland Media" sounds a lot like PDX indymedia