today a group of anarchist protestors marched through downtown portland carrying a mock casket in honor of nicolas david neira alvares, a 15-year old anarchist beaten to death by police in bogota, columbia on may day. the turn-out was small, but focused, and began at pioneer square and made its way through downtown--blocking the bus here and the streets here and there--and to the saturday marketplace, and then down 1st avenue to the world trade center, where the casket was left at the door under the guard of a security officer who raised his fist in solidarity with the marchers when they arrived. as vibrant south american music played through a loudspeaker and various speakers keeping the marchers hungry, passers-by joined the march for a time and people watching voiced their support. there was very little by way of confrontation in the march itself until afterwards, when the marchers reconvened at pioneer square and began speaking. one elderly transient began speaking loudly, and a police safety officer asked him to turn it off, which sparked mocks from the marchers and other people in the square. one bystander began harrassing the elderly man as he got onto the MAX, and several of the marchers interceded on his behalf which caused a confrontation in front of the starbucksat pioneer square. the bystander became more and more perturbed, and eventually came to blows with one of the march organizers, which caused the arrival of the police. the violence was caused by the bystander's attempts to bully the elderly man, and then proceeding to pick a fight with the marchers in any way he could. at one point, he even called the organizer he fought "black boy." the police came, and the organizer chose not to press charges, and both men left. it was the malevolence of one individual completely unaffiliated with the march that caused the entire incident, and unfortunate blemish on what was before that a successful, spirited, if small, event that certainly made an impact on the people who witnessed it.
anyone interested in supporting a lawsuit on behalf of alvares by the survivor of may day are encouraged to write or call the colombian embassy to declare their support:
Embajada de Colombia
2118 LeRoy Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008