portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

actions & protests | imperialism & war m19 2006

The Most Beautiful Fireworks I Have Ever Seen: Remembering M19

March 19, 2006 was a beautiful sunny day. So sunny I decided to leave for the rally early. When I reached the waterfront a little after one o'clock, I was surprised to see a crowd already around one to two thousand people. I saw some familiar faces and made my rounds. Everyone I spoke to felt the rally was not going to get us out of Iraq any sooner, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.
After about an hour, the crowd had doubled. Someone came up and greeted everyone and there was some peace and love music. Because I was at the rally to support the end of the Iraq war and not peace I went to the back of the crowd and watched the anarchist cheerleaders (they were awesome!).

A little while later I found the "bloc" and met some of the people from the Seattle Anti-imperialist group. The bloc had a banner that read "Fuck The Troops!" complete with a yellow ribbon crossed out, a circle A, and a circle E. Personally I thought this banner was great. It did not scape-goat our "leaders"; instead it called upon those holding the weapons to realize what they are doing is wrong.

After about 30 min. - 45 min. of speeches and music the march got started. There were so many people in the streets that we spilled over the dividing line, and half the marchers had to be rerouted to permitted territory. Much chanting and dancing followed.

About 10 min. into the march a group of five cops started tailing the bloc. At some point, according to a second hand report, a minor was threatened by cop who said, "I'm gonna fuck you up." The bloc could take it no longer. We stopped in the middle of the march and demanded the police stop giving us special treatment.

Most of the marchers kept going past us, but the Seattle anti-imperialists stayed in solidarity as well as about one out of ever 100 marchers that passed. After a minute or two a representative from the march organizers came to moderate between the police and us. We made it very clear we would move on as soon as the police stopped targeting us.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of our lock-down a middle aged man had begun to yell vulgarities about how he owned the street due to taxes and that we had to move on. Someone threw a firecracker which startled everyone a bit, but the situation was resolved thanks to the cool heads in the bloc.

Back at the police line we had been told that if we moved on the police would then leave us alone. We immediately turned this down, and another negotiator came in to help. By this time our lock down had grown to a size significant enough to slow the march nearly to a halt. After a minute or two of the march negotiaters talking to the police. The police moved on. Screams of joy could be heard from everyone the bloc and every other marcher I could see.

The march continued. The bloc got it's heckling from people here and there, but on at least one occasion some hippie dude came to our defense and said, "Stop yelling at them to take off their masks. That's not cool man."

As we moved forward there was a group of detainees locked down in the middle of the street. It was a very moving reminder.

Near the end of the march we came to a gauntlet of police officers. We all linked arms and the cops didn't touch us. It was a great feeling to be arm in arm with my comrades walking fearlessly past mounted police.

Then we reached the end of the march. There was dancing and flag burning. Fox news came out of no where and got 3 seconds of footage before we stopped them.

A psychotic liberal tried to take a megaphone from a protester, but was calmed down by other marchers (liberal and bloc alike).

Then we had a short street party. I thought about how great the day was. Although I know the ruling class could care less about this march, I was able to express my thoughts to a large amount of people.

While others might complain that this march contained no direct effort to end the war I will not complain. I don't understand why people are criticizing the organizers for that. The organizers in my opinion did a great job, and their negotiation efforts with the police is that of legend. If there was not enough "action" for some people I think it is important to look at ourselves. Why would the organizers plan a revolution, or a building takeover? Have we forgotten about the power we hold as individuals? If you think this is what is needed the I suggest you go for it, or at least blame yourself for not taking said action before putting blame on the organizers of this event.

My memories of M19 can be summed up with what happed just before I left. As I was walking away some liberals pointed at the scarred spot on the pavement where some flags had been burned. They said, "It must have been some fireworks." To which I responded, "the most beautiful fireworks I have ever seen."
Well said. 20.Mar.2006 14:00


Thank you, Seattle and Portland anti-imperialists.

saw you but couldn't get close 20.Mar.2006 15:39


Wish I could have stood with you but was ahead and didn't hear about it. At the end I saw the burning and was impressed by the ring and the chanting and the number of people. Keep on keepin' on!

Love and Rockets 21.Mar.2006 07:24

Mama B

A special shout out to those that traveled from out of town to bloc it up with us, very cool. I have to say, the amount of good little Germans that walked on by while we were standing in solidarity against police profiling and intimidation (at the near insistance of one of the peace cop organizers) was staggering. Thank you to those that stood with us.

Just keep on walking 21.Mar.2006 20:30


The bloc was incredibly organized. I think that is why there was so much power there because of organization. Normally, the police would have used the opportunity to smash our faces in, and some of them really wanted to. It was our solidarity that kept us safe. I think the liberals need to understand that. Ghandi didn't have a permit when he walked to the sea to collect salt. I mean Martin Luther King was arrested around 22 times, but does that make him a crazy terroristic anarchist? I mean even fucking Jesus had a one man riot in the temple in which the citizens were selling and making profit in the house of God. If we were to do that today, like go into the fucking White house and have a one man riot because they are selling our privacy and rights to the highest bidder, could you guess what would happen?

To the liberals: Nothing personal, it's just all the icons that liberals base themselves off of have been even more radical than a bunch of people in all black demanding the police to stop threatening us, and putting us in a position of danger. You know,when I walked behind that officer, within two seconds he turned around as if to hit me and told me, "Who the fuck do you think your messing with, huh, who the fuck do you think you are? Why the fuck are you in the back of my bike, I will fuck you up. I will fuck the shit out of you." Now, after hearing this one doesnt think to himself, "Golly, what a nice guy, I sure can trust him to protect me from anything dangerous (since when has it been dangerous in a protest without the police there? I mean Critical mass had a tiny bit of cops there for a little bit and it was incredibly peaceful.) I mean honestly liberals, what if some beefed up cop in a power trip said that to your son, would you cringe, would you talk back? Hell, I hardly even talked back knowing the danger I was in. Here was some guy with a gun, pepper spray, handcuffs, a bike, a baton, mace, and a taser telling me that he is going to fuck me up, while all the officers don't even laugh as if it was a joke, he was serious. So, I find the only people who can possibly protect me is the ones the liberals call the scary anarchists. The scary anarchists who provoke riots and burn down buildings. You know I haven't heard of any anarchists who I am afraid of, why is that? I haven't heard of any anarchists who would harm me in any specific way shape or form if I wasn't putting them in a position of intense danger. But why is it that I would not even talk back to one of the so called "peace keepers" liberals labeled them as. I came to friends who were loving and accepting and were going to protect me by the most peaceful means necessary. They were waiting, they politely asked the police to leave because they felt endangered, and WE ARE THE BAD GUYS?!! I was sick to my stomach to see all the people pass. Organizers shifted people in other directions as we were yelled at and threatened at one point, from friends? No, these were not people I would associate myself with. They thanked the officer who threatened my life and gave dirty looks to us. The Ghandis, the MLKs, the people who were trying to be peaceful. I was yelled at, I was jeered at, from people who I would regularly call allies. You know, you just don't do that sort of stuff. What would happen if I was out in the middle of the street being attacked by policemen and having a gun pointed at my head? Would they stop to say thankyou to the officer and give me dirty looks? From how I see it, they probably would.

As people passed I was filled with love when I saw some new protestors stop and say, Hey that's fucked up! I saw the most beautiful people on this planet stop, look at those in need, and join them in a joyous act of solidarity. When we were at our peak of the crowd, the police stepped down. You have no idea what that felt like, to be protected. To feel safe. Because we lose faith when we are threatened by those who uphold the law. Who will protect us now? When the police left, those were OUR streets, for however short it was, those were OUR streets. We celebrated our minor victory in the middle of the street, with music, fire, and most importantly love. There was a sense that we were winning, and damn it felt good. It's not too often that I feel a sense that I can really change the world, I felt it then. Even when the police followed us after the protest, our pride was enough to protect us, that and the legal observers watching our back and filming every violent footstep the police made. I just hope that others will not veiw us as the bad guys, and see us as the love and power within unity. That's why we dress in black, to show unity. That might be something the democrats might want to try harder at. Because unity and love is the strongest tool of all.

Holier Than Thou 21.Mar.2006 20:48

The Target

To call those people that walked by "good little germans" is insulting and immature. I was ahead of y'all. In fact, when "the bloc" started a chant about wanting "Class War" I did so intentionally. I was there to support peace not war. Perhaps some of the others passed you by for similar reasons.

you are brillaint 01.Jan.2007 02:02

vicky young age 12 vix.young@yohoo.co.uk

what you did was apsolutly amazing and it's fantasic you stood up to the police in that bloc and great that you didn't let fox flim you although it would have been brill cause then the hole world could see what you did.
you are truly amazing
yours truly vix

028 90 761536
88 old holywood road