The march and rally on Saturday went well - until cops started arresting people for no reason. I must say that the Portland police have hit a new low with their behavior on Saturday. There were six or seven arrests total, with three for jaywalking/stepping off the curb, one for doing absolutely nothing, and two for putting red paint on their hands and painting the town with the symbolic blood of Iraqis. (There may have also been another jaywalking incident.)
The arrests that I witnessed were completely unnecessary and seemed only to provoke the crowd. The first arrest took place on the corner of Yamhill and 6th, at Pioneer Square. A gentleman was standing there, with his bike, waiting for his friend. A police officer asked him what he was doing there, his name, and his birthday. When he replied that he didn't have to give them any information, he was promptly arrested for interfering with a police officer. I'm no lawyer, but arresting someone for not giving their information to a police officer, when that person did not do anything wrong, seems completely illegal.
When the march began, the first sign of trouble was seen around Third and Yamhill, when someone apparently stepped off the curb and was promptly tackled by police, who then brought out the pepper spray and sprayed the crowd. They responded with cries of, "Nazis!" and giving the bike cops the "Heil Hitler" pose.
The next two arrests occurred either because people were jaywalking or stepped of the curb. Police didn't take much mercy in getting them down on the ground with their face on the pavement, for their "crimes." The most sickening thing I saw all night was when the police arrested a young girl who is a disabled citizen, despite the cries from her mother. "Leave her alone - she's an honored citizen - look her up in your records - she has a speech impairment - she doesn't understand what's going on!" her mother screamed repeatedly. I think the mother was more upset than the daughter, although she seemed quite shaken also. "I'll be OK," she yelled back as the cops took her away. The mother asked that she be released to her, but the cops refused and told her mother where the jail was so she could get her daughter later. A report from someone in the jail said that her mother was waiting for her around midnight that night, but she hadn't been released yet.
The marchers took a break in front of the federal building, joining the candlelight vigil in the park. After a half hour or so, it proceeded back to the square. A group of 50 or so people boarded turned the Max into the "Peace Train" to the Lloyd Center - with a police escort all the way. They then got off, and boarded the next train to Skidmore Fountain. "All aboard the Peace Train!" they yelled at each stop.
The group then headed back to Pioneer Square - with Officers Rowley (who likes to pepper spray babies) and Meyers (who likes to pepper spray 12-year-olds) tailing them the whole time. At the square, they formed a human peace sign, and where in generally high spirits. The group broke up around 10, with plans to meet back at the Square at 5 Sunday.
One incident - besides the overzealous arrests - marred this peaceful protest. A person, posing as an anti-war protester, donned a blue handkerchief and head-butted an innocent bystander in the face. I witnessed the person putting on the bandana from afar, and he was not with our crowd. The man who was head butted was very understanding - he was very anti-war, and knew it wasn't one of us.
The people at the march and rally were very peaceful, and everybody seemed like they were really trying to obey the police. However, if the cops insist on being overzealous with their pedestrian traffic laws, my guess is the people will start to resist.