Schumacher Furs Protest Report, March 4
"Humans aren't the only species on earth. We just act like it."
The day started out with Gregg Schumacher telling a lone 80 year old protester watching the signs that it was illegal to be there and to take the signs and leave. When he refused, Schumacher called the police.
Schumacher Furs have taken down the protest sale signs from the display windows and instead have posted modified photos of protesters taken at previous fur demos in the entrance. The modifications are things like changing the wording on the protest signs that activists are holding. For example one said, "All Protesters should be Beaten, Strangled, Skinned Alive, Anally Electrocuted" instead of, "Felony Animal Abuse: Beaten, Strangled, Skinned Alive, Anally Electrocuted."
The Schumacher people are being very aggressive in their contact with protesters. As they've done in the past, they seem to be trying to instigate bad behavior in order to film it. They walk through the crowd with furs in their arms, with security with cameras following behind. They walk around us with cameras, verbally goading us, and have at times even made physical contact.
Later in the afternoon Schumacher called police again (we don't know exactly why), and, rather than having a calm discussion with us (or any individual one of us) about whatever issue he came out for, the sole officer acted quite angrily toward the protesters, escalated the situation, and an arrest was made. Why did this even start? What I witnessed was that the officer (from some distance) saw a protester go over to the front of the police vehicle, and then walk away from it. He then accused the protester of somehow abusing the car. What had actually happened is that the protester picked up a piece of litter in front of the vehicle - and there were many people around who could see that (after the sidewalk chalk and spitting arrests, one may understand why some of us began picking up fallen literature at that point).
Very quickly about thirteen police cars and an unknown number of police officers arrived. One chanting protester was simply pulled out of the crowd and arrested (and the video shows that). This protester has seen repeatedly that police aren't de-escalating situations, rather they're creating and then escalating them. One of the Schumacher security guards joined in on tackling and pepper spraying protesters. Thirteen police cars to handle 20 or 25 unarmed peaceful protesters seems like a ridiculous use of city resources (are there any real crimes in this city)? Meanwhile, maybe a hundred people gathered to witness their tax dollars at work from across the street. They were very receptive to taking leaflets on the fur industry. Some of them joined our protest and vowed to come back next week. And then: Schumacher Furs decided to close early - the gates went down, the lights went off. Now, that's a good day for the animals.
Why do protesters continue to show up week after week, month after month in front of Schumacher Furs? To speak up for the 40 million animals killed each year by the fur trade. This shockingly cruel industry clubs baby seals to death for the Canadian fur trade. Many seals are as young as 12 weeks old, and up to 40% are still conscious as their skin is torn off their bodies (according to HSUS veterinarians). Dogs and cats writhe and scream in pain as they're beaten to death on the sidewalks of China (up to 80% of fashion fur is produced in China). Learn more about the fur industry and watch videos at http://www.furisdead.com
One potential customer told us he had been warned by Schumacher Furs not to go to Schumacher on Saturdays to avoid the protesters. We certainly are having an effect: they're telling their own customers to stay away!
Please help us to educate people about cruelty to animals and the truth behind the fur trade's fašade of glamour and luxury. Let those who wear fur know that fur is not a non-controversial fashion item. Protests are every Saturday starting at 12:30ish until 4:00 or later. Signs, leaflets, some costumes, vegan treats provided.
Again, it would be great to see protests on other days of the week too, so go and protest anytime you're moved to stand up for the animals.
There will be a training on "Effective Street Protesting" put on by In Defense of Animals (249-9996) on Sunday, March 12 at Free Geek (1731 SE 10th Avenue, Portland), from 3-6:30pm. There will be specific strategizing around the Schumacher fur demos, and we strongly encourage anyone who has been coming to these demos to come and participate! Refreshments will be served.
"I am in the world to change the world" - Kathe Kollwitz, artist and activist
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