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

actions & protests

Code Pink "Pink Umbrella Brigade" Harrassed at St. Johns Parade

Sgt. Voepel of the Portland Police cited two women for leaving the site of a public lecture that he was giving on the immorality of not always doing what the police tell you to do.
A group of ten members of Code Pink Portland and several supporters were stopped by two policemen on motorcycles at the end of the annual St. Johns Parade at about 1:45 PM today, at the intersection of N. Lombard St. and N. New York Ave. The group had walked in the street at the tail end of the parade, carrying pink umbrellas that spelled out the word "I-M-P-E-A-C-H" and carrying signs exhorting U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who had ridden a bicycle in the parade, to "Remember your oath, get some guts, impeach them both". As they finished their march, the group was greeted by waves of cheering supporters, a surprising response in normally staid St. Johns.

Iris M. Peach, self-identified organizer of a "Pink Umbrella Brigade" action to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and one other woman, were given $97.00 citations for "Improper Position On Highway", although they had followed the orders of the police to return to the sidewalk. Several other members of the group received a lecture on always following police orders, and they were allowed to leave without being cited. Ms. Peach said that she and her companion had left the lecture in order to rest after several hours of marching and protesting.

The fact that only the two women who left the lecture were cited appears to be evidence that the "improper position" charge is bogus. Ms. Peach vowed to fight the citation in court.

porky hates free speech 12.May.2007 18:11


As many people as I saw dancing, kissing, and just plain loitering in the streets of St Johns today, it would appear that porky has his nose up Earl's butt. It is really a sad state of affairs when some over zealous butt kissing porker can step all over our right to free speech. I noticed that they did not have time or the ability to do any of what they were hired to do today. Traffic was nightmarish, because Popo cops don't know how to deal with it. Instead of harassing citizens on a designated parade route (highway status suspended for the day, OBVIOUSLY!), they should have been out directing traffic at some of the more congested intersections. When is the last time that you saw anything like THAT happen in P town?
Potter, if you are reading this, get on this case before I take away my attaboy.

Free Speech? 12.May.2007 19:57


I was there in St. John's today and saw the Code Pink people arrive. What a shame they met with such suppression. It seems to me that the police could have better spent time helping people navigate the roads out of town.

Hundreds cheering - and one mean cop 13.May.2007 09:23

Granny M

Some days it feels so bleak and hopeless, but walking Lombard with people all along the parade route clapping and cheering was wonderful. But I wish/pray these folks will realise the extent of the crisis and know that sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option.
Maybe even Officer Un-Friendly will see the light.

Here's the Message: We Are Winning! 13.May.2007 13:19

Guy Fawlkes

The fact that so many people wildly supported the Code Pinkers in a conservative oasis like St. Johns is good news for us all. It appears to me that the cops targeted the "leadership" of this wonderful group in order to deflate the encouraging outcome. Blumenauer et al should be ashamed.



Shut it down!

another witness 13.May.2007 18:36

Paula Greene

When I saw the Code Pink group marching down the street, I just had to run up and join them. The cheers and clapping were great - my partner, who stayed on the sidewalk, said it was the most cheering the whole day! BUT - even the most enthusiastic smiling cheerers would not budge from their spots to march in solidarrity.

At the end of the parade, we followed the group in front of us around the corner. Mr Policeman (Sargeant Voepel) and his faithful sidekick (Officer Gunderson) waved us to the sidewalk - where we were already headed anyway. Sgt. Voepel proceeded to begin his rude, overbearing, vicious and condescending harangue immediately. " Ho Hum, that's boring." so I started talking to a friend in the contingent while he droned in the background.

When I happened to glance over I saw Sgt. Voepel citing two women who'd evidently been as uninterested in his performance as I and had walked away. So I went over there to witness. I think faithful sidekick must have taken over the rest of the group, because they disappeared a few minutes later. Left on the sidewalk then were the two women being cited, an elderly couple in their 80's, another man and myself. We were also surveyed by an occasional gloating Bushie as well.

What followed was truly a theater of the absurd: At first Sgt Voepel and Officer Gunderson seemed to play bad cop/good cop. This didn't last long, however, and soon Officer Gunderson was following Sgt. Voepel's example. I think they may have read "Bullying for Dummies" or "Gestapo Handbook."

The most vocal of the two women was in a hurry to find her car and leave. But the other woman, the elderly couple and the other man agreed to speak with the editor of one of St Johns community papers. I hope he did a good interview with them and publishes a nice article.

By the way, this group had applied to be in the parade and were turned down, apparently because they were "too political." So what does that make Blumenauer, Tina Kotek, Mayor Potter and Chief Sizer? This "to political" label is commonly applied to anyone the St Johns booster club doesn't like, and I think they should come up with something a little more honest, perhaps "too smart" or "too progressive."

One of my main thoughts during this whole not-quite-surreal affair is that Sgt. Voepel is a Bushie, and the cheers really burned his ass. (Also, I have thought for long time - since meeting Officer Sery (spelling?) at our neighborhood association meeting - that our cops and firemen need to be tested on a regular basis for steroid use. "Roid rage kills. )

I woke up this morning with three thoughts: 1) What could I have done or said to leave these two unfortunate humans with a little niggling idea that they need to change their act? Some sort of emotional ju-jitsu would have been good. 2) i really do feel pity for these guys. Pity isn't the greatest of emotions, but considering that I've always felt raw hatred for cops and cop culture, I have to consider this the dawning of a little light. 3) It really really bothers me that no one, except possibly the one man, joined us in solidarity. This type of fear is the anchor and chain that will drown our planet.

My observations of the st John's Parade 13.May.2007 19:32


First, is it true that Code Pink was denied a position in the parade? Were they really told they were "too political"??

I also note for the record that Bernie Giusto's car was soundly and loudly BOO-ed by bystanders when it reached the announcer's booth. As soon as he read the offending name, a loud and raucous "BOO!" rang out from the streets. I could not see Bernie (was he even there? The coward...), so I do not know what his reaction was, but the rest of the crowd registered a mix of amusement, surprise, and curiosity. The announcer responded with a graceful, "Well, at least the car is nice."

I think Bernie's days are numbered, politically speaking.

Unlike Senator Carter, who managed to get everyone cheering, with her spirited, boisterous personality. She rocks.

I also heard people cheering Code Pink loudly. So it appears that the organizers, who invited Bernie and Rosie, but who may have slighted Code Pink, are painfully out of touch with the people of the community. (And... what gives with all the cars in that parade? Why not mix a lot more kid's marching bands and clowns throwing candy, and get rid of some of those cars.)

too pink to be included 13.May.2007 22:11

Code Pink Hanger On

It's true: Code Pink was denied a permit to march in the St. Johns Parade. The person who communicated the permit decision to the event organizer said that the parade committee didn't allow "political" themes. It took courage for those who took the streets (whose streets?) to march anyway and then to stand up to the cops.

For those who don't know Code Pink, it's one of the few progressive "anti-war" organizations that have opposed both the Republican and Democrat agendas on the occupation of Iraq, unfailingly working for defunding rather than "de-authorization", for bringing the troops home rather than "redeploying" them, and for paying for the rebuilding of Iraq rather than punishing Iraqis for their "failure" to meet "bench marks" by reducing non-military aid. Members have contributed many well conceived, radical direct actions throughout the country. Like the local Surge Protection Brigade, these people deserve our support. Next time, join them in the streets.

"For those who don't know Code Pink..." 14.May.2007 06:16

a girl in north portland

Thank you! :-) Including background info is super helpful, especially for those of us just joining the fight. It's great to know who's who, what's what, and what's already being done.

Code Pink: Please Contact the Video Collective 14.May.2007 12:09

Videoista VideoResistance@riseup.net

Are you serious??? They denied Code Pink on the grounds that they don't allow "political" themes??? I echo the sentiments of the person above, who wanted to know what all those political candidates, what Rosie Sizer, what representatives of various right wing Christian organizations, and what Bernie Giusto were doing there, then. If you are a member of Code Pink, and were denied access to this parade, or if you are an organizer who has *some* explanation for this, please contact the Portland Indy Video Collective. I think this warrants a video.

Code Pink Should Get Their Own Parade 14.May.2007 12:14

Burl Doomenauer

I ride bicycles and I like spinach.

I am for de-authorization, not defunding, since defunding would not support the troops and the war on terror.

I am for redeployment, not bringing the troops home, since bringing the troops home would interfere with my running against Smith in '08.

I am for punishing the Iraqis for their failure to do what we told them to do, in the same way I am for punishing the Lebanese and the Palestinians for their failure to do what U.S.-Israel told them to do.

I am not a neocon, although I used to be a Republican.

Breaking news about women arrested in D.C. 14.May.2007 17:25

Jody Paulson

I attended this Solidarity event with Bay Area Code Pink in San Francisco's Union Square today --  link to indybay.org

I heard at the our event that 27 people were arrested in D.C., including Cindy Sheehan (who I hear may be running for congress in '08, BTW  link to www.scoop.co.nz