27 members of Occupy Portland were arrested in the early hours Sunday. They were severely manhandles by police without provocation, and several report being injured while in police custody.
Portland has been practically a poster child of good city/Occupation relations. Mayor Sam Adams has been a supporter; and Oregon Congressment Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer spoke at an Occupation rally yesterday. (See video, next page) When the occupation shut down a main city street it was several days before the police moved in to make arrests, and even then it was only a few die-hards; the rest of the Occupation had already come to an agreement with police to free up the street.
So why on earth would we be looking at the spectacular police over-reaction that happened at 3 this morning, personally witness by Mayor Adams?
Occupiers have been allowed to camp in a pair of facing parks in downtown Portland, but had been warned they wouldn’t be able to take over other parks. That was the issue this time: The Occupiers wanted to spread the movement to Jameson Square, in the wealthy Pearl District.
The police told them if they didn’t leave the park before a midnight curfew, they would face arrest. Most left, but a group of about 25 remained, seated, in the center of the park. Police moved in to remove them, which they did with unnecessary brutality.
Here’s the release from Occupy Portland:
About 450 supporters surrounded the park and cheered the protesters seated peacefully in a circle in the center. Six mounted police and approximately 65 police in riot gear pushed supporters to the sidewalks and conducted the arrests over a period of several hours. Mayor Sam Adams arrived on scene during the arrests and expressed that he was only there to observe, but did not order the arrests to cease. At one point, a woman was pinned between two mounted police horses while standing on the sidewalk in support of protesters and another supporter’s bicycle was crushed in the incident.
Here’s what one occupier, N, told us:
“They stalled for 2+ hours, using horses and knight sticks to divide, push and intimidate the people supporting us, as well as ourselves.
“One lady was thrown into the van; when we were waiting to be taken from the vans (which was at least 2 hours) she was in severe pain. It took an hour of us demanding medical attention for her to be taken out of the van (they stated they thought she was faking it) and was led away. The howls of pain wer the most horrific animal sound I have ever heard.
“I asked another occupier in my holding cell; they said when she saw her, she had an icepack but the wrist was still severely discolored and bent in weird angles. Also, still in severe pain. This was approximately an hour after she was taken from the van.”
Mayor Adams said he didn’t think the occupation would mix well in an area where people actually lived. “This is a neighborhood park surrounded by residential and small businesses.”
Nice strategy: Only let the occupation take place in an area where there are “dangerous elements” and night-time crime problems, and then stigmatize the occupation because of… the dangerous elements and night-time crime.
Station KGW has a video report here.
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- Bill Maher skewers right-wing idiots who hate Occupy Wall Street
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- Why we occupy: The Story of Citizens United – Why Democracy Only Works When People Are In Charge
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