Friday, April 15, 2011

Portland Cops Attack Anti-Police Brutality Protest

About a dozen people were arrested Thursday night when self-described "anarchists" marched through the streets of downtown. There were no reports of injuries or property damage. Organizers of the anarchist march said they were protesting police brutality in solidarity with other anarchists around the country, particularly Seattle where the police department is being investigated by the US Department of Justice. One protestor complained that police used pepper-spray on teen girls. Violence erupts at protest against police, marchers horribly outnumbered. Before the protest even began, the police were in sure form: one officer charged a young girl and pushed her violently, leaving her bleeding from an abrasion on her knee. Her companions reported that the officer would not give them his badge number, but that his last name was "Weinberger." Another officer arrested a protester for throwing a cigarette butt in the park.

When perhaps 20 protesters had gathered, the march commenced, led by a banner reading "Every Cop A Murderer, Every Judge An Accomplice." By my best count, 30 cops pursued at this time, lining the street in blue and yellow and ordering protesters to stay on the sidewalk. The ranks of both protesters and police continued to grow quickly, swelling to 50 in black-bloc. 35+ Officers on bikes hedged the block, with 6 more on horseback and at least 7 patrol cars. A few private security guards were in attendance, sticking to the far corners and looking uncertain.

At approximately 7:40pm, at the corner of 9th & Stark, a confusing melee broke out. Pepper spray could be seen shooting high above the crowd, pushing, punching, shoving, screaming. Many protesters ran in all directions. From my vantage point the cause of the conflict was uncertain, but it was noted by several observers that both sides were agitated. I witnessed 3 arrests at this point, including a very young girl. Protesters reported her age as 14 years old. Another arrestee was not moving, nearly unconscious, and had to be carried by the police, his feet dragging behind. One officer pushed a protester violently, commanding him to remain on the sidewalk. I hope other observers make their vantage points known, as their was considerable violence I could not clearly see.

As the protesters regrouped in Obryant Park, more police arrived: 20 in full riot gear, perhaps 10 more afoot or on bikes, and at least 10 patrol cars with the sirens of many more approaching in the distance. I counted 58 officers at this time.

The 15 remaining protesters gathered their comrades and spirits and began marching around the adjacent blocks, eventually toward Pioneer Square. Concerted chants of "Fuck The Police!" and "A-C-B! All Cops are Bastards!" seemed to rattle some onlookers while others only gawked in awe. More than a few put their fists in the air in solidarity.

By 8:25 12 protesters remained, stopping briefly at Pioneer Square. At least 26 police officers continued to fence their every move. Patrol cars roared in every direction, a large paddy-wagon rolled slowly by as 20 Riot Police clung to the sides of another truck.

From this point the marchers continued down 3rd Avenue and eventually up Burnside to 12th Avenue where a wall of police greeted them, forbidding them to pass. The protesters eventually reversed their course via Stark St and returned to Pioneer Square.

By 9:30 perhaps a dozen protesters remained, holding their signs in front of the courthouse, appearing exhausted. The police began to disperse.

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