Thousands of anti-war citizens taking to the streets put Portland traffic in great distress for the past six hours, closing I-5, I-84, and I-405 and closing major bridges and disrupting city bus services and after-work traffic. This huge city-wide protest resulted in many arrests of protestors who conducted a civil disobedience action by venturing out into highly dangerous Interstate traffic to stop the flow of fast-moving cars. Critical Mass bicyclers also backed up traffic when hundreds took over the downtown streets with their bikes, while a few groups of protestors clashed with police in various areas of Portland. On the Steele Bridge in Portland this afternoon, riot police were called in after a clash between police and protestors that resulted in excessive pepper-spraying of a small group of citizens, and also hitting them with batons. A police motorcycle was knocked over, which caused an injury of one police officer who was treated by emergency medical technicians on the scene.
Though 600 police officers were deployed today to handle the city-wide chaos of traffic, this evening, app. 200 Portland police are now being joined by Beaverton police in riot gear, to prepare for the ever growing rally of protestors now all peacefully convened together at 3rd and Burnside. Even though the rally now is very peaceful, there are tensions flying still because earlier in the day, anti-war protestors on Broadway spray -painted windows at a MacDonalds Restaurant and threw a hammer through one of its windows. A Ford car dealership in the same area reported its American flag was destroyed and its flag pole was bent and ripped out of the ground. A Shell gas station also reported receiving minor vandalism.
Riot police also formed a wall down the middle of one street near Waterfront Park to form a barrier to block tensions between a small group of pro-war and anti-war groups who were exchanging angry views: one group wanting to support the troops by supporting the war effort, and the anti-war groups supporting the troops in their own way, by stating NO WAR and thus urging to end the war immediately and to bring the troops home.