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actions & protests | police / legal a22: bush protest

AP: Protests "surprised White House"

White house spokesman Ari Fleischer says they "did not have any inkling" that such a protest would occur. Nat'l Lawyer's Guild called for Police Chief Kroeker's resignaton -- Vera says the city is reviewing tapes, but that "the primary objective was to protect the president and that was accomplished."
Ore. protest surprised White House

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By Joseph B. Frazier


Aug. 23, 2002 | PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The violent demonstrations against President Bush caught White House planners by surprise, a presidential spokesman said Friday.

It's not unusual for presidents to be confronted by small protests when visiting outside Washington, D.C. But demonstrations that result in the kind of skirmishes with police that erupted here Thursday night have been rare.

"We did not have any inkling" that such protest would occur, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters.

More than 1,000 people turned out to scream anti-Bush slogans, tag buildings with graffiti and challenge police at barricades around the hotel where the president held a fundraiser for Sen. Gordon Smith.

Among other issues, the protesters said they were upset with Bush's plan to relax environmental standards for logging, a possible war with Iraq, the U.S. stand on the Palestinian question and what they called rampant government corruption.

The group blocked buildings, and Republican donors trying to get to the hotel were taunted and jostled. Many had to be escorted in by police, who later used pepper spray and rubber bullets on the crowd. Six people were arrested.

Fleischer said Bush saw the protests from his limousine when he arrived at the hotel. The protest lasted for seven hours.

There were clues the demonstration could get nasty on the Web sites of groups involved.

Preparations for the protest were posted on the Internet as early as Aug. 7 and continued constantly under such headings as "Tear gas canisters cause severe thermal burns," "Bush to visit beautiful Portland in August, you should too," and "What happens if you're arrested for civil disobedience?"

Oregon, and especially Portland and Eugene, have a long tradition of demonstrations, and many of them turn unruly. Bush's father, former President George Bush, used to refer to Portland as "Little Beirut" because of the protesters he encountered during his visits.

Officials with the National Lawyer's Guild asked Mayor Vera Katz to fire Police Chief Mark Kroeker, claiming Thursday's actions by police were "atrocities against humanity."

Katz' spokeswoman, Sarah Bott, said the mayor and her staff were reviewing film and videotape of the incidents. She said the primary objective was to protect the president and that was accomplished.

homepage: homepage: http://www.salon.com/politics/wire/2002/08/23/protests/index.html

Indymedia and premeditation 23.Aug.2002 16:47

Todd

I spoke with the Oregonian today and they seemed to be pushing this. Apparently the media believes that because of some of the posts to indymedia, protesters planned to carry out nefarious deeds and call for violence. I have a few things to say about this (as an individual):

1. The majority of the posts denounced provocative actions
2. The police struck before any provocateurs even could think about doing anything [preemptive strikes perhaps?]
3. The police attacks largely hit innocent nonviolent protesters, bystanders, and human beings.
4. There is no evidence that any of the posts are related to the protest. They could have come from anywhere in the country, from people who didn't attend etc.
5. They cite discussions of what to do when arrested, tear gassed etc. Despite what they think, health precautions are a good idea. I bet Channel 12 or whatever wished they had brought medics, protection, known what to do. It is ludicrous that people think preparedness=criminal intent.

What they are think is:If you planned for pepper spray attacks, you planned to incite them.

What we were thinking was: The police always pepper spray us no matter what, therefore we should make sure no one is injured, has permanent respiratory problems, gets cancer, etc.

When the police prepare it is called training, but when the citizens look out for their own health and work to protect the community from harm it is called violence...

Is this for real?? 23.Aug.2002 17:26

bov

Since when does AP quote from Indymedia postings?

They could have found a lot more provocative postings if they wanted to prove some point - why stop at these hardly volitile ones?

And if these postings are some sort of evidence for incitement of violence, what of the t-shirts reading "Fuck Bush"? Will there be a sexual harrassment suit?

It's nice to know they're listening. Now every right wing kook will be logging on . . .

Are you listening Mr. SMITH and Mr. BUSH? 23.Aug.2002 17:45

randy davis randaldavis@hotmail.com

Ari Fleischer told reporters today "We did not have any inkling" that such protest would occur.

I don't understand... We have a selected president who brushed off warnings saying they "we had no idea, we thought they were only going to be conventional hijackings" but now he doesn't want any investigation. He tells people to "watch what they say" but does grant that people "ought to be ALLOWED" {emphasis mine} to have opinions. His friends have enriched themselves fraudently with business practices similiar to his own. He wants to privitize our forrest and water. Can you say Enron? He decides to whom the Constitution applies and stonewalls efforts by courts and congress for information and oversight. He has plans to use the National Guard to replace the ILWU if they strike. And did I mention his plans for taking us to war?

Well we the protesters, including "peace groups, labor unions, environmental organizations, churches, low-income advocates" and just plain folks have had enough. How can we not be angry? So we spoke out.

What BUSHit.... 23.Aug.2002 18:04

Mike

Considering that more than a thousand of us protested Bush's sorry ass back in January (and gave him the middle finger), this is just more spin from Ari The Liar.

What was different in Jan. is that the Portland PD did not attack the crowd (except for a few overzealous horse-mounted police about 20 minutes AFTER Bush left).

Well, now we're getting a taste of what it's like to live in a police state....

Contact Joseph B. Frazier 26.Aug.2002 00:33

Truth Squad Trooper

I think Joseph B. Frazier is with the Portland bureau of AP. I couldn't find any confirmation online, but here's how to contact the Portland office:

121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 1450
Portland OR 97204-2924
(503) 228-2169
223-1038 Commun.
228-5514 Fax
228-9739 Fax/Commun