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From the open publishing newswire: "The police riot at last week's A22 Bush Protest outraged many people in Portland and around the U.S. Mayor Vera Katz delivered her response on Friday by subjecting Critical Mass riders to pepperspray and police violence. With this choice, she has made it clear that she stands with tyranny and against freedom. Katz's track record of affronts against civil liberties includes the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Sit-Lie-Stand Ordinance, and the humiliation of Dignity Village. Her committed opposition to basic human decency has never been more obvious. She is a disgrace to the caring, progressive, justice-seeking people of this city and if she had a shred of honor, she would step down...
"800+ riders showed up for this Friday's Critical Mass, the biggest of the year so far. Just before arriving, we heard over the police scanner that the cops were bringing vans and pepperspray. We figured that the city was somehow planning 'revenge' for the victory that the people of Portland enjoyed on A22, which sent positive ripples out across the nation. And while the city certainly tried to use the cops against us -- and certain cops were brutally dedicated to the cause -- the Critical Mass was not deterred."
Another account on the newswire: "This was my first critical mass. It would have been wonderful to ride all around Portland, with many hundreds of people, enjoying a beautiful and relaxed afternoon and evening without the police. Even so, I am very glad I went, because Portland activists have sent a message back to Vera: We will not be intimidated and bullied. When Bush comes to town, we will protest his visit and his mad war policies, and once a month, we will have a community bike ride."
The contrast between corporate media and independent media became very stark over the past few days. Corporate media outlets once again exposed their own dishonesty, laziness, and pro-establishment/anti-people biases with their highly inaccurate coverage of the A22 Bush Protest in Portland. Here on portland indymedia, however, the real story of the day was revealed through hundreds of articles and photos published to the site by the people who were there on the street. The only other place to find the truth was KBOO.
Check out all the stories and multimedia that were posted to portland indymedia about A22 at: http://portland.indymedia.org/a22.
After hearing about the Portland anti-Bush protests, Salvadoran national union leader Ricardo Monge, leader of the El Salvadoran National Health Care Workers Union (STISSS), - who visited Portland this past April - writes to send both his support for the local struggle and a call for solidarity with theirs: "Please receive a revolutionary greeting, most dearest comrades from the city of Portland; I remember you well as a hard-working group of dedicated activists. I have been informed of the repressive measures taken by your own government against a protest in your city. Police viciously attacked a peaceful protest with senior citizens and young children. I think that every Salvadoran knows what you have experienced, and we feel good to know that even in the United States there are people fighting the same fight as we. I sympathize with you and at the same time am impressed by your bravery. In the difficult political climate after September 11, when anyone who takes to the streets is immediately labeled a 'terrorist'? it takes courage to continue the struggle against imperialism.
"Here in El Salvador, we too are living through a moment of increased government repression. Partly because of the encouragement given to them by your government in its pursuit of a free trade agreement, ARENA has intensified its campaign of persecuting popular sectors struggling for a change. Our union, the STISSS, has always been the subject of government attacks because we have always been at the front lines of the struggle against the privatization of health care. Now, the government seeks to do away with us once and for all and privatize health care, which would have fatal consequences for the people of El Salvador. They have closed off all of the spaces of negotiation; they leave us with no other choice but to strike. Now, we are entering what may be the final battle against those who seek to do business with peoples' lives."
From the open publishing newswire: "The A22 Bush Protest here in Portland provided a stark reminder that corporate media cannot be trusted to present a story fairly or accurately. The bias against democratic action and in favor of police violence was on full display in the local press, even with the comparatively sympathetic reports provided by media outlets whose employees were attacked. The Tribune characterized the protests as a "riot", though the only riot that day was a police riot, the Associated Press couldn't count, and the Oregonian was typically slipshod with the facts.
"Dissent is becoming increasingly criminalized, legally, by the government and increasingly demonized, culturally, by the corporate media. When the corporate media repeatedly presents protesters as violent and police violence as justified, it is not reporting facts -- it is shaping perceptions. The result is a country full of people increasingly hostile to the veryidea of dissent, who will gladly give up their liberty for security, as we have seen since 9/11..."
"Here on portland indymedia, the corporate media lies about A22 were countered with truth. Not only did protest participants post their own first-hand accounts that showed what really happened, they also jumped on the corporate media stories and called out the errors, mischaracterizations and slurs that they found. They found many:
"Write, email and call. Just once, or over and over. Be specific about where they went wrong and point out details that you can counter from your own experience. Needle them about obvious bias. Ask them how they feel about making money by lying. Let them know that you're aware they're lazy. Say they should be ashamed. Tell them you go to indymedia, KBOO, and the Alliance for the real story." [ Full story & contact info for corporate media outlets ]
From the newswire: "First and foremost I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the kind humanbeings who helped my children, my wife and me after we were pepper sprayed by the Portland Police. We were aided immediately by fellow demonstrators, the black cross and passers-by caught in the crossfire. These people shielded us with their bodies and soothed us with their treatments and words, and argued with police, putting themselves in danger, to secure our safe passage through the cordon. Their actions stand in beautiful contrast to the savage inhumanity of the police.
"We brought our children to a peaceful protest, we stayed in the back and we were walking on the sidewalk. The march stopped at the intersection of 2nd and Alder we could not see why from our position on the SW corner of the intersection. Police quickly moved up behind us and a moment or two later sprayed pepper spray into the crowd from the NE corner of the intersection. the crowd ran toward us to escape the spray. We asked the oficer closest to us how we should exit the intersection. He pointed and said to exit to the NE, into the spraying police opposite him. as the crowd pressed toward us I yelled to him to let us through (south on 2nd) because we had three small children. He looked at me, and drew out his can from his hip and sprayed directly at me."
From the newswire: "Alan Graf, Portland resident and Chair of the Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called a press conference at 8:45am on August 23rd at City Hall to talk about the police violence during the previous days Bush protest."... "After Alan Graf spoke, a number of people came forward to tell their stories. One was Don Joughin, the father of the children who were pepper sprayed 2nd and Alder. He showed photos of his children crying, faces red and swollen. Don told how he and his family were in the back, away from any direct protest and how police surrounded everyone, and would not let people leave, at the same time that other police were ordering people to disperse."
"After speaking with the press outside City Hall, Alan Graf, many of the press, and the 60 or so people who attended the press conference went up to Mayor Katz's office to speak to her. The Mayor was in her office but declined to speak to the people there. She obviously does not care enough about babies and small children being pepper sprayed by police to come out and talk to the father of those children."
From the open publishing newswire: "The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition (PPRC) rally on Friday called attention to the previous day's events when a passionate but peaceful protest against visiting George Bush was marred by vicious police violence. In a march on City Hall participants chanted, 'Send Kroeker back to LA!' and '2-4-6-8, End the Police State!' Most people in the crowd had felt the effects of the day's rubber bullet and pepperspray attacks, either up-close-and-personal, or by entering areas where the poison still hung heavy in the air. Being the target of chemical weapons can tick people off, and the crowd on Friday, though small (about thirty people) was loud and energetic. Many people felt that that Mayor Katz [pictured, left] and Chief Kroeker are to blame for the inexcusable behavior of the police. "
From the open publishing newswire: "I spent several hours talking to women about why they attended the Bush Protest. The interviews were done before the protest action. Here are a few of the voices."
"[I talked to] Elisabeth.- an elder lady. She walks with a cane and talks with the strength of 20 women... 'I have been marching for over 60 years. War is the worst way to solve problems. I am here today to support the effort to end this assault on America. I have been trying to make sure that in my lifetime we don't succumb to these warmongers...
"'I think these times are the worst I have seen. I think it is worse because it's so unctuous and disdainful. Business people treat Americans like children telling us how to think and what to consume and how to vote. I wish we had a leader for this movement. Someone like Martin Luther King, Jr. who cared about all the people. Someone who could speak to us and bring us together. We haven't had a real leader since Truman who had a real job. Most of these people we elect don't know what it is like to go to work everyday and worry about how we will care for our families from day-to-day.
"'Bush is running around acting like a child throwing a big tantrum. He's tearing up treaties that protect human rights, the environment and everything we need to survive together peacefully on the earth. I am here today to stand up no matter what the odds, against this madness.'"
At least 3000 people gathered in Portland today to protest pResident George Bush. Bush was visiting the state to spread lies about forest health and shake down the local ruling class to raise bribe money for regional crime lord Senator Gordon Smith, who is the Republican incumbent for U.S. Senate. The day of dissent started with a tree-sit in a downtown park where thousands gathered in the afternoon. Hundreds of people also gathered on the Waterfront for a Pacific Green Party-sponsored rally, which joined the crowd at the North Park Blocks and marched downtown. Police, including many in full riot gear, staked out a nine square block area around the Hilton Hotel where the fundraiser was happening. Protesters had free reign throughout the rest of downtown where they took the streets and blocked intersections. In the late afternoon, police declared a state of emergency to the glee of the protesters, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse. Police then turned violent [ 1 | 2 ], shot people with rubber bullets and peppersprayed many others, including a 10 month old baby [ story: 1 | 2 ].
When the sun set people danced in the street and continued to face off police. The general feeling among participants was that it had been a great day. Corporate media accounts, unsurprisingly, gave different, often highly inaccurate, accounts [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ].
From accounts posted to the open publishing newswire: "Roughly 100 demonstrators turned out both at Medford airport and Jackson County Expo where President Bush gave his logging policy speech..." "Police threatened to arrest all persons that would not move to the inside of the chain link 'free speech zone'. Many people were simply standing along side the road with signs, not content to be essentially caged in. Some demonstraters chose to actively resist by staging a sit-in in the middle of the road while the bulk of the remaining chose to stand their ground on the side of road. This particular action resulted in no arrests."
8:30PM: More pepper spray as police try to force crowds out of downtown.
7:20PM: Huge crowds on streets as sun starts to come down. Children pepper sprayed. Bush mocks the dead to elicit laugh from crowd during speech. And Japan's Foreign Minister calls Bush, "Totally An Asshole." Portlanders rock as they post video to IMC Site! Keep it coming - more pictures, audio, and video!!! And Alan Graf calls for citizen's meeting tomorrow morning.
6:30PM: Police Open Fire on Protesters. Pepper Spray, Batons, Rubber Bullets used on crowd including babies, people in wheelchairs, citizens.
6:20PM: Bush Speaking as Police Order "Big Pepper Spray" from newswire article.
5:15PM: 2 to 4 thousand People Protest shrub! Police say size of crowds too big.
4:55PM: State of Emergency Announced
4:35 PM: News coming in that at least one protestor maced and riot cops ready to go here.
3:40 PM update: Great $#@%ing Day in Portland! - 2 to 3 thousand people on the streets!
3PM update on Shrub's visit here. According to news radio he has landed and is on his way downtown where the protesters have started their march.
From the open publishing newswire: "The ongoing campaign against the replacement volume program and Allyn Ford came to Mr. Ford's hometown of Roseburg, Oregon. Activists from across the state converged Monday to express their disapproval of Mr. Ford's business practices on public lands. Over 50 people occuppied the entrance of the downtown branch of Umpqua Bank, led by a marching gamelan ensemble playing ancient rhythms at near deafening levels. The high spirited protest effectively closed the main entrance to the bank for over 2 hours before protesters paraded through the downtown core, chanting 'SAVE THE ANCIENT FOREST, BOYCOTT UMPQUA BANK!' and 'PUBLIC LANDS, NOT PRIVATE PROFIT!'
"Mr. Ford is the sole owner of Roseburg Forest Products and Scott Timber. RFP/Scott hold the contracts to dozens of sales on public land in the Pacific Northwest, many of which target mature and old-growth forests."
From the open publishing newswire: "We the Executive Board of ILWU Local 5 stand in solidarity with our union sisters and brothers. We champion the right to the collective bargaining process, the right to picket and strike, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and, ultimately, the right to be free from the economic terrorism of the capitalist ruling class...
"While we support all struggles against the tyranny of government and bureaucracy, of most immediate and crucial concern for us, are the recent developments on the longshore. The Bush Regime has indicated that they are looking at four options: 1) Invoking the Taft-Hartley Act; 2) Running the ports with Navy personnel; 3) Placing the docks under the Railroad Labor Act and 4) Breaking up the coast wide contract. Each one of these threats against the ILWU is a direct attack on the power each and every worker. We must not allow this to happen..."
"We call upon all workers of the Americas to unite against this attack on the basic rights of our livelihoods and against all the oppressions and tyrannies of the Bush Regime. We support the community organizing efforts to stage a demonstration against the Bush Regime on his visit to Portland, Oregon on August 22nd, 2002 and will mobilize the Labor Community to the best of our ability to ensure the event is a success."
To keep up to date on the latest information about the upcoming protest against the Bush Regime on August 22, check in with portland.indymedia.org/protestbush.
The week of August 19th (the papers say "tentatively the 22nd") pResident of the US will be in Portland, to support Gordon Smith and his Fundraising campaign. One activist writes: "We must Squash them. Bring signs, pretzel, bouncy balls, affintiy groups, bikes, horns, whistles... you know what to do, big demo lots of fun." A post to SF Bay Indymedia says: "come to the beautiful northwest as portland hosts the worlds most dangerous man, george w. bush, in august huge protests, civil disobedience, street theater, nonviolent demonstrations, and general anarchy is planned for the week of august 19th, when dubya visits the city his father called 'little beruit.'"
portland.indymedia.org/bushprotest has been set up to track updates and the latest information as it is announced to this website.