A Firsthand Chevron Station Account
There were lots that went on during J20 so I'm just going to start things off just before the Chevron station, and the events that happens there.
I had just arrived at some of the park blocks in front of the In-justice center after hearing about the police getting really aggressive with a peaceful crowd. After I arrived everything was pretty much calm, people were chanting, singing, and enjoying one another's company. The black shadow of the Portland police state was there dressed up in full riot gear, on bikes, cars, suv's, you name it. Even the PPB's ever-popular ice cream truck was on site.
About ten minutes later a countdown started, "three... two... one... GO!" Tons of people started taking off, heading west, past the county courthouse building, about 300 strong. People just kept running, and the police that could, followed. Massively outnumbered some people took the streets, others stayed on the sidewalks (on either side of the streets) that people were on. Only about ten bicycle police were on hand, spread out for a few blocks. It was really easy to get past them, and as they issued orders to people nobody listened. "There are most of us then you! How does it feel to be outnumbered?!?" said one person to two bicycle police trying to block people from crossing the street, but to no avail.
One thing I remember as people were running was this one guy who had a whistle that kept crossing the street over and over again right in the middle of the block. A cop on a bike told him that if he crossed the street one more time that he was going to arrest the man with a whistle, but the guy didn't listen and just kept on zigzagging his was across the street. The police officer left the man alone (the cop had no idea what to do) who continued to race with the other small groups of people racing away from the park, leaving the police in the dust.
South then west, south then west, again and again. Hundreds of people were racing to an unknown location. I had been out in the streets all day so I was sort of tired so I was with the middle group who turned up a street to a Chevron gas station. Suddenly someone yelled, "Shut it down!" others started to yell "YEAH!" all at once and raced across the street into the station. The front group was a block away and saw people running into the station sweeping in on it from the other side. The third group soon caught up and about 300 people were in the parking lot chanting everything they could think of. The police were vastly outnumbered as they made a line of bicycles in the street in front of the station.
The station manager didn't know what to do at this point. His employee's didn't seem to mind the interruption in their shift, they just went into their station building and sat down, or came outside to tell people not to smoke because of the fuel there, and if there were to please move to the sidewalk.
More and more police started to show up. Some people decided to leave. The manger of the station then granted everyone there the right to be at the station as long as they listened to his first request. The police were also gathering in numbers, surround the gas station.
Suddenly two girls locked themselves down to two gas station pumps by putting a U-lock around each of their necks, connecting them to the pump itself. About fifteen others were sitting down with them as they sat there, protesting the consumptive lifestyles and exploitation of other countries resources around the world. Everyone started cheering, supporting the two girls.
Time went by; people stood their ground as the police were amassing in front of them. By now there were about just as many protesters as police. Some guy decided it would be a good idea to head out and started to yell at the crowd, "lets go!" almost everyone shouted back at him, "NO!" Not wanting to leave the two girls behind, but alas, some people did leave. A small group of about fifty headed east.
Now, smaller and outnumbered those that stayed continued to keep the station shutdown.
Standing in solidarity with the girls locked down I stayed there, watching the police, listening to what they were saying, reporting it all back to everyone in the station. Lots of phone calls were coming in to people on their cell phones as well as going out. At this point the station manager decided that it was now time for everyone to leave and started to get really pissed off, calling over some police officers in an effort to get everyone out of the station driveway.
The crowd started to thin out a little bit, getting smaller and smaller, and more spread out. By now police in full riot gear stretched down half a city block in front of the station, with dozens more police on bicycles on either side of the station.
The ice cream truck had arrived and after about twenty minutes or so the manager of the station got on the ice cream trucks sound system announcing that he wanted everyone to leave. Some people at that point left the driveway moving onto the sidewalk, others stayed. Then the police got on the sound system and announce that people had three minutes to clear the stations driveway. If they did not, they would be arrested.
One by one people started to leave. Some people started to collect the bags from a core group of people at the station so they wouldn't get searched. Over and over again the police kept announcing that they were going to "sweep" the station stating, "If anyone is on the property of the gas station when the sweep begins they will be arrested." Well after about eight minutes the police came in and started arresting everyone who was sitting around the two girls, locked down to the gas pumps. Placing zip-ties on them, searching them, and moving them out into the street were their photos were taken on the spot.
Now all the people who were not locked down were all arrested at this point. That took about I'd say five minutes. Then there were two. Both girls were being talked to by the police officers. I have no clue what they were saying but both of the girls were shaking their heads no while I was watching. I stood there wondering how the police were going to break the U-locks as I saw two full-faced protective helmets being placed over their heads. I thought to myself, "I wonder how long this is going to take till the police break the locks." It didn't take long after that. A loud pop was heard and suddenly a girl was free of the U-lock that had been around her neck. She was ushered over to the street were the police took her picture as she posed for them, smiling.
A second pop was heard now and the second girl was now on her feet standing as she was then moved to the street toward the back of a police wagon. One girl started to yell out, "I want to be searched by a FEMALE officer." As two male officers started to pat the girl down without any regard for her request as three other women officers stood in front of me ignoring her cry's. The other girl had a female officer there searching her so I wondered why they wouldn't provide one.
Now that everyone was clear of the gas station police pulled people in and out of the police wagons, taking their pictures, doing what cops do after they arrest people. Laughing, enjoying their overtime pay.
The police now in the lot of the gas station surround it from the inside. Now they were the ones shutting the station down, and did for about another hour. Forworth was even there talking to other police officers, then left.
I tried talking to the police public relations officer but because I had a hoodie on two cops dressed up in full riot gear stopped me. When I explained what I was trying to do I was then told by one of the officers, "move back, or I'll move you back myself."
What a fucking asshole I thought to myself. Anyway, after that the crowd wished the people who got arrested goodbye as they were driven off with cheers. Some people stayed for a little while longer banging on things, talking to cops. Some of them talking back and having conversations with others. One person tried to shake a cops hand but he told her that he couldn't. When asked why he said, "for safety reasons." Soon there were some speakers on a megaphone talking, as passersby who lived in the area were out and about trying to either get home, or were coming out of their homes to check things out. Others made their own D.I.Y beat from all sorts of things on a corner, keeping everyone's energy up.
The night ended for me with some preachers who are always downtown who always go off on people about god getting one of their signs taken away by people who were at the protest, running off with it.
So that's my account on what happened. If anyone else has anything to add that I might have left out, feel free.
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