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actions & protests | police / legal a22: bush protest

Part 3: The Protest As I SAW It, the N Park Blocks-7:36pm

From The initial march to 7:36 when I left.
We began the march by winding around the North park blocks and moving up Broadway. The procession was headed by people with some sort of radio communications, organizers, union members, the press of various breeds, and random protesters. As we made our way up the streets people came out of their offices, stores, off the sidewalk, and their various places of observation to see us and many joined in our march. We were met by cheers and shouts of approval. Nowhere did I hear hecklers.

In fact, before we had made it to the barricades, there were already protesters with signs and whatnot at every barricade I saw. This is important as many people have based their estimates only on the size of the crowd they were in, not noticing that as time went on the crowd was herded into separate barricade sectors unaware of each other's presence.

The crowd was so enormous that traffic was inevitably blocked anywhere we went. It became so large that throughout the protest we had to walk incredibly slowly as it took a really long time for the tail to catch up with the head. When we arrive at the first police barricade on Broadway, we made a right and headed west towards Park. Unfortunately we disrupted a ballet performance.

After moving up the park for sometime we reached the southern border of the barricades and moved eastward along the police lines. All the people's spirits were high, the sun was out, and people were playing with their pets or children. The mood was quite jovial and remained so even through the police aggression. The sound of drums and an eerie hum of lots of whistles provided the soundtrack.

Trying to allow the back to catch up, we inched our way around the eastern border, after hearing reports that some protesters were still on Broadway. Soon thereafter reports came in that police had blocked portions of the crowd at various points. About 1000 people from the original front lines, where I was, stopped at 5th & Taylor. At this point I took down officer's names should they step out of line. I did this not because I thought people would start something, but rather because I have been trained by Portland Cop Watch, and my experience at protests has shown police overstepping their bounds continually. At first there were only around 15 regular uniform police officers. After taking photos, interviewing people, and chanting [approximately 15 minutes] I moved about 2 blocks south and 1 block west to a second enclave where hundreds were. I might add that the 1000 or so broke up along around 3 blocks or so.

At this other block police presence was heavier. There was around 30-40 officers. Some were on horses, some riot police, some on bikes, and some on foot. 3 officers on foot and with visible nametags [riot police hide theirs] are: Rose, Vandrake, and Jones. The atmosphere here was wilder with the Beat Back Bush marching percussion playing. I spoke with people and most didn't know there were other locations where fellow protesters were. Here I met and interviewed people of 10 different nationalities. I overheard someone complaining about the lack of ethnic diversity. Though I sympathize fully with this sentiment, one might also urge not to look skin deep. I met many people on non-western European descent and or citizenship who were white, but also added to the diversity of characters at the event. The cosmopolitan atmosphere was nice.
Soon thereafter word got out about the enclave at 5th and Taylor, hence the Beat Back Bush people lead the hordes yonder to reunite with our fellow comrades [this is the point at which the media quotes me]. The crowd was much livelier upon the return. There were more police shifted from the other site now that people left that area.

I watched the first pepper spray incident [that I know of] occur there but could not see the moments leading up to it. I have been told people were shaking the gate, not taking it down, and the police without announcing their attacks [a common occurrence] sprayed the people who were jumping around and whatnot. They hit what appeared to be 3-5 people who were then treated by the wonderful medics. From this point on the police became trigger happy, unreasonable, and confrontational.

The officers at that site were:
Brown
Harris
Dobson
Foster
Ottoman
Rhodes
Devlin (on a bike)
Jones
Warren
Francis

I cannot confirm who hit the protesters.

This first event went without much notice in the crowd. The demographic was filled with family, the elderly, onlookers, passerby-s, shoppers, youth, middle aged couples, just about everyone. People lacked any sort of cloth protection and looked totally unsuspecting. Given this state of unawareness I left the frontlines to try to inform neighbors about the incident, what to do if it happens again, what precautions to take, where the medics were, and so on. I got carried away and eventually wandered up 5th informing the random shoppers, people working, etc.

As I was doing so the 2nd incident occurred. I heard loud yells, saw everyone running, and people telling us to walk not run. There were shots. They sounded deep bassy and hollow. The sirens came and soon thereafter the cars arrived. Then there were people slamming the hood of the car practically running people over. I am surprised there were no injuries from the police car. More shots followed and spray was in the air.

I never once heard any announcement at these two incidents. They pushed us a block back. People regrouped, some amassed at the Standard Insurance building steps, some on the street, some on light posts, all with great noise and energy. There was a period where we stood there for a long while chanting and beating what ever we could to make noise. Reports online said a state of emergency was announced. I didn't hear it, no one else told me about, but it could have happened.
Then we left that site and moved up to 6th and Yamhill, right near Pioneer Square. Perhaps the food court and large visibility of the area dissuaded police force here, I am not sure. On the corner there was a free jazz brass and wind quintet playing crazy versions of American songs.

Eventually we ended up at SW 2nd & Alder. Before reaching the Morrison Bridge riot police flanked our sides. We were heading for the bridge to block the bridge, so the presence on the sides was confusing. At the bridge itself I was moving quickly ahead of the groups and landed behind the police line consisting of about 15 bike police. They attempted to use a bus to block us from crossing the bridge but the protesters blocked the bus. That is when the bike police moved in. There was a stoppage for some 10 minutes or less. Two minutes later police came up north on Alder. 1 minute later riot police came from the east, approximately 5 of them. The total was around 30 officers.

Some protesters on the street began moving up north on 2nd. The police targeted two people moving north on the street for no apparent reason and without warning. They pepper sprayed the two, and then three officers [one woman and two men] attempted to arrest them. Some others rushed out and knocked down the police, picked up the fallen victims and raced away unscathed and free! That is solidarity!!!!

Let me say one thing about misinformation and attacks on protester organization. From the beginning there were reports of people with megaphones, almost no one directing the marches had these, leading chunks of the group away. PDX Indymedia was hit with porn, virus laden posts, massive bombardment of false posts, and racist remarks. When I was sitting on the freeway ledge behind police lines at the Morrison Bridge, a man saw I was "press" and struck up a conversation. He was middle aged and totally nondescript. He seemed supportive and told me that there was a press conference at 7 at the WTO building, and that the police were trying to stop us from going there, hence the flanks being blocked. At the time, despite my usual critical and skeptical self, I believed him. But now I know, or at least am pretty sure, it is false. It makes sense that they would want to lure us there so as to [1] get us in front of the WTO building so as to give us bad press and beat the hell out of us [2] get us out of site of the public to commit worse atrocities [3] lead us away from Bush. So there was a good possibility that a lot of covert attacks against us were going on.

Police cars then came from the south and east. Then everyone moved through the Kinko's parking lot up 2nd, and the police line withered and moved on. We hooked around and landed at 5th and Alder at around 6:30pm. We came back to Pioneer Square, then Broadway, and Salmon St. & Park. There we found a bunch of journalists hiding out and lingering with an obese man wearing a hat that read "these colors don't run, never have, never will". I saw Ch. 2, 6, and 8. After informing them that we will see them at the NAB in Seattle Sept. 15-17 [hint Portland people gather and commute there]. It is a massive meeting of the most evil lobbyist and journalists of corporate media. People began to chant "Tell the Truth". There was a lot of anti-corporate media feelings expressed here. One may note that nearly all of them made a latent reference to Portland.indymedia.org in their reports. I spoke with someone at the Oregonian seeking us and she said that we were the source for the event. It shows you something about the major media and their limited reporting.

Riot police moved in, some hiding in building corners to attack the body of the crowd, others forming a barricade. A street theatre funeral procession came through the crowd. Then a state of emergency from 5th-Park was called by a large white van. Another one came with, presumably for arrests. Note that these are brand new, presumably from anti-terrorism money and are being used against peaceful citizens whilst our schools are rotting and social services evaporating. The police told us that we would have to move or be arrested.

The riot police pushed us back to Park. Before then we were half way up Park. About 10 bike police officers came from the east on Salmon. There were then about 50 officers east of park, about a block behind us. Vans, horses, bike police, and riot police moved in. We then moved up Park to Main. We turned down Madison and North on Broadway. We then went back up Main [I think, my handwriting is scribble]. A sign were torn out of the ground and thrown in the street. Someone had pasted a flyer saying "United we stand on the rest of the world" to a police vehicle. The crowd started returning to Salmon & Park. I noticed someone had written "Fuck the Corporate Media Lies" (I hope I have that right) on Channel 6's van in sharpie. Bike police came from South on Park. At this point 7:36 I went home.

Further away near Burnside I noticed a large armored van with PSSI written on it, it has a massive satellite dish. Police communications perhaps?