A radical feeder march in the North Park Blocks was addressed by MOVE veteran Mario Africa of Philadelphia before heading out to join the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's regular Friday march at 5pm on Friday.
A massive police presence was seen throughout downtown Portland, with cops on foot, in cars, on bikes and motorcycles, and on horseback. Within moments of the beginning of the march south from the Park Blocks, officers cornered a young woman in a crosswalk on Broadway near Burnside. It was unclear whether she was arrested or cited.
Portland police closely watched and cordoned the radical march, which kept to the sidewalks. Police blocked access to crosswalks in an attempt to split the march into smaller groups. When asked by marchers why the police were blocking the crosswalk after part of the march had gone through, one bike officer was heard saying, "We are preempting the crossing signal."
Marchers devised a strategy of running through the open crosswalks during green signals to allow everyone to make it through without being left behind.
When the marchers approached the northeast corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square from SW Sixth Avenue, a large whoop went up from the PPRC group that had been waiting for their arrival.
Following the No War Drum Corps down Yamhill Street to Third Avenue, the assembled groups passed the Portland Justice Center and Federal Building before entering Terry Schrunk Plaza to show solidarity with the Peace Encampment. The Encampment was established by a loosely affiliated group of young people after bombing began as a silent, peaceful vigil against the war on Iraq. Organizers have vowed to maintain a 24 hour a day vigil between City Hall and the Federal Building until the bombing of Iraq is halted.
After several individuals addressed the crowd through a bullhorn, the march continued back to Pioneer Square.
A group of Critical Mass riders passed the Square shortly afterwards, eliciting more whoops from the crowd. They were followed by a large number of bike and motorcycle police. It appeared that police had split the Mass prior to its reaching this point in the ride.
Several mass riders were arrested and others pepper sprayed by the police near the Justice Center at about 7:30pm. It remains to be seen what other violence may have been meted out to Mass riders by the police. Other indymedia reporters were with the mass and will be filing reports shortly.