PHOTOS: Occupy Protests Government Austerity at Lloyd Center—Police Pepper Spray 20

Comments

1
Blocking traffic and transit service is juvenile.

Also, get a permit, which I know the city would allow, especially a permit that designed a route that didn't block transit service. People on the MAX can't just get up and go somewhere else, and you're only marginalizing people you're allegedly trying to protect.

These groups come off as whiny and entitled rather than cogent and organized.
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Press Announcement
For Immediate Release Nov. 3, 2012
Contact: Nick Caleb or Mike Losier -- (971) 258-0087

Today, a coalition of labor, education, anti-war, and community organizations took to the streets to protest against national, state, and local austerity measures that seek to put the burden of the financial crisis on the working class with budget cuts and the privatization of our social and public services. The demonstration was organized closely to the election to oppose the bipartisan ‘grand bargain’ that will require $4 trillion in cuts. The demonstrators came with the clear message that the wealthy elite responsible for this crisis should pay for it and that we also need to look to our communities to organize support and solutions. We estimate that about 1000 demonstrators were in the streets at the peak of the day of action and energy was consistently positive throughout.

Police had an early presence at the event, confiscating two banners that they claimed were “under investigation” when there were only a few dozen people at Holladay Park. During the march, the police indiscriminately pepper sprayed the front of the protest when it tried to turn North on 14th St., accusing demonstrators of using their banners as “shields”. Many people were pepper sprayed, including a group of high school students that were out protesting against cuts to education. Overall, it appears that around 25 people were sprayed in the eyes and received first aid from other protesters. A police van with riot police hitched to the outside would later pass by the group of recovering protesters and wave mockingly at the group.

Portland Police later issued a press release claiming attempts to contact organizers weeks before the event. The Portland Action Lab, the organizing body for this event was never contacted by the police regarding a permit. Either the police did not utilize the clear and established channels of contact with PAL (our email address is public), attempt contact in person at the fully public meetings where the event was organized, or are simply being dishonest as to justify the use of force after the fact. We invite the PPB to release evidence of their attempts to contact us and steadfastly declare that there is never a justification for the police to use violence against peaceful demonstrators. It’s unconscionable that a bureau that is under investigation by the Justice Department for civil rights abuses still behaves this way with the cameras on. Victims of the day’s police brutality are encouraged to submit complaints to the city and we will be gathering footage of these incidents to submit to federal agencies and the media. Political speech is a fundamental right and we will continue to fight for it.

“Despite police confrontations, the day of action succeeded in its aims of communicating that we do not consent to coming austerity programs,” said Michel Losier of Portland Action Lab. “The 1% must pay for the crisis that they created.”
3
Chanting "Fuck Austerity" with children nearby. Classy folks.
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Agreed - serious entitlement issues. Marching against cuts to the government while school presidents, chancellors and directors make 300,000 + a year from their tax dollars. I wish the "1%" would quit working all together so that these people could find something else to complain about or mooch off of. Wait, but if the 1% stopped working, it would sort of kick these people in the asses seeing as the 1% consists of corporations in bed with the government/and or government employees who makes a shit ton of money. That'd be a serious blow the the government class. If they made cuts in the right areas (bye bye unions) and lowered pensions and salaries to the members of the 1% in the public sector they could kill two birds with one stone.
But hearing about the march and viewing the pictures makes me feel better about the "pending revolution." If you catch my drift.
5
There was no blocking of the max. People shouldn't need a permit to rally and march. It's called the 1st Amendment.
Interesting to show concern about what language the children might hear when this rally was about fighting for what kind of future they're going to have. That might be a tad more important.
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@lilith29

Can you point to the part of the Constitution that says free speech includes stopping the flow of traffic, goods, services, emergency vehicles, etc. without proper permission and/or fair warning to said parties beforehand to make accommodations, because I don't see it there?

This was an act of civil disobedience, at least call it by its name. Just don't call it Constitutionally protected, First Amendment free speech -- 'cause it ain't.
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WS Maybe you could learn some American History. Ever hear of the Boston Tea Party or the sit ins during the civil rights movement? Both acts of civil disobedience and very illegal at the time. You might want to check what side of history you're on.
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@lilith29

By your own admission, you said the march was protected free speech, but then did a shifty back-track and called it illegal and pointed to two scenarios in past history to prove my point I was making.

I'll tell you what, if you're marching in the streets because colored people aren't allowed to use the same drinking fountains as whites; then I'll be right there with you.

But this is not the case.

Nobody wants to see teacher job cuts, but now you're just costing government more because it has to pay for police overtime and now, a couple dozen lawsuits from "repressed" individuals who got a face full of pepper.

And the Boston Tea Party was a bunch of cranky white dudes who didn't want to pay taxes. At least get a better example in history.
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People needed to get home to their children, lilth29.
Illegal or not, it's common decency. Something that I would assume this movement was attempting to represent. You all completely took advantage of the people who ride public transit (people of whom I'm assuming are not of the 1%).
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WS you're the one who is calling this action an act of civil disobedience.
So I was pointing out examples of civil disobedience actually being a positive and nobody was asking the police to be there.
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JM34 It's really touching that you're so concerned about the people on public transit who might've been inconvenienced for a few minutes.
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@ws, your argument makes no sense. If there was permit, traffic would still have been shut down, and in my experience with permitted marches for even longer. Secondly, temporarily shutting down transit as part of an overall "stop business as usual" tactic to show that we will not take permanent austerity measures like eliminations and drastic decrease in public transit services to poor and other marginalized communities is pretty readily logical to pretty much every community member I've ever talk to about it. It's certainly more effective than sitting at home and writing oh-so-scathing remarks on the internet. I think statistically, writing indignant remarks on the internet has been less effective than mass mobilizations, which brought about the weekend, the 8 hour day, women's right to vote, the civil rights act (which reminds me! Martin Luther King refused to conduct permitted marches), the end of the Vietnam war, very recently the dismantling of ALEC, to name a few.

Lastly, no one was claiming to "represent" anyone. We are concerned people affected by austerity acting together. I know, mind-boggling that other people don't just sit around and whine and expect other people to do things for them! You should try it sometime.

PS I have to say, I can't imagine that you care about the populations that you referenced in your post, given that you rather handily glossed over the fact that the Portland Police's macing of high-schoolers, elders, and families with children, who comprised the majority of those at the front of the march who were attacked.
13
Martin Luther King probably didn't get permits to march because he was black and the whites wouldn't give it to him. Just a hunch.

The police and city would have worked with this group, it could have been orderly, and people wouldn't have gotten peppered. If the police lets this group block traffic without repercussions (e.g., use of force like pepper spray), they have just sent a message that this type of behavior can go on and that everyday citizens cannot go about their business without a protest occurring randomly and without warning.

This is not a hard concept to understand here. Nothing I have said in this thread is "scathing" or out-of-this-world unreasonable. It's just plain logical.
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lilith29
i know.
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@ws: see NCaleb's comment near yours. "Portland Police later issued a press release claiming attempts to contact organizers weeks before the event. The Portland Action Lab, the organizing body for this event was never contacted by the police regarding a permit. Either the police did not utilize the clear and established channels of contact with PAL (our email address is public), attempt contact in person at the fully public meetings where the event was organized, or are simply being dishonest as to justify the use of force after the fact." No attempts to "work with" as you say, with this group were ever established, though there were very clear channels through which to do that and established liaisons.
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@jm34, no one is claiming to represent anyone. Hard as it may be to believe, this march was made up of folks who are actually affected by austerity measures (which is why high schoolers and the elderly bore the brunt of the macing today). Secondly, you assume that everyone is as unable to connect dots as you are. I've talked to hundreds of folks in the community who are dependent on bus service and temporarily blocking traffic in order to show that we will not take permanent austerity measures like eliminations and drastic decrease in public transit services to poor and other marginalized communities makes good sense to the majority of them.
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@fish_hog

It's not the police's job to fill out the permit. That's the group's job to fill it out. Did they do so? Probably not.

The very idea that the police even do this part of the process is ridiculous and gets at the whole "entitlement" thing I mentioned.

Here's a start:

http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cf…

@lucy

I ride the bus for more than just work. You didn't ask me. And no, I don't want you to block transit, for the record.
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@ws, good hunch, but incorrect. I recommend reading King's "Letters From a Birmingham Jail". really moving piece. And let's not forget that when MLK was assassinated, he'd been working on building a poor people's movement and was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers , ie, was there protesting a form of austerity, slashing compensation for public employees.

As your second hunch, it makes me giggle that you think people en masse taking the streets just like, happens overnight. N3 has been organized for for months. As much as I'd like to think the average person just has time to get into the streets non-stop around the clock because the police are cool with it, I'm not that naive or uninformed. Which is why I organize, rather than pout about what's going on and wait for other people to do things to make me feel better.

Your argument seems to largely be, "it would have made the police feel better if you'd had a permit!!" I wonder why that is the important narrative to you. When slashes to our public investment are targeted at every public sector except the police, why should their personal need to feel powerful over others be our focus of intent?
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@ws

So you ride the bus for more than just work... welcome to the club. You must be pretty happy about the recent cuts to Tri-Met that have hampered public transportation services and raised fares by 45 cents a ride (that's a 25% increase over the course of one year, unprecedented in this city). That's what austerity looks like, and it creeps into the seams of our everyday business like an insidious black mold in a home that's not maintained. Our communities are our homes and it's our duty as members of the community to maintain them.

And when it comes to entitlement... that's an interesting thing to bring up. I remember when I was a kid, my parents' generation looked down on the people who served us our food, or cooked it. They would say "If you don't want to end up going to college, you need to stay in school, and get a college education." And that's exactly what I did. But now that tuition has doubled, debt has ballooned to $1 trillion (~24,000 dollars average per student), and there are no jobs other than flipping burgers (Economic Policy Institute cites a 53% unemployment or underemployment rate for college graduates), we're called "entitled" because we want something better. We want we were promised, and what we deserve. We're doing everything society told us to do and getting fucked harder for it. That's the "entitlement" you speak of. That's austerity.
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@jb. I had my child there. She hears people use the f word on the bus, at the store, etc. What concerns me more is that she saw the police pepper spray people for no reason and that they could have sprayed her or other smaller children in addition to the hs students. It disturbs me that the police showed her and other children today that dissent is not tolerated, public property is a myth, and that they are not always nice ppl who will help if you have a problem and give you stickers. It also disturbs me that she is inheriting a system of neoliberal economics that will marginalize her and her children and her children's children if nothing is done about it. It is important to me as a parent that my child learn to stand up and speak out (peacefully) when she does not agree with something. I also have to say that that particular song she did not hear because she was too enthralled with the other women there and they, along with some of the men, went out of their way to tell her and show her that she was important and welcome. That is community and that inclusion and acceptance and love had a greater impact on her than all the f bombs in the world ever will. All of the kids did great today and I am very proud to have marched with them. To the ppl who were there today.....Thank you, it would not have been as great without each and every one of you.
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How many billions are we spending on military and clandestine operations around the globe again....every week? How about a march against that?
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@ws. I just want to say that the police waited til we were out of the public eye for the most part and near an inlet for the riot police and then they let loose. They did not stop us as we exited the park or walked down the street. If they had an issue due to permits they would not have waited until we had gone several blocks. This was planned. The riot police were on there way before anyone was even sprayed from what I saw. Oh....and before you call me entitled, I am 29 years old and I have worked at least 40 hours per week since I was 14. I have busted my rear more than half of my life while watching the 1% make the money and act like I was lazy to boot when it was contract time all the while I am putting in 10 to 20 hours a week of unpaid OT to make the whole office run. During acting supervisor stints I did all the supe jobs and my job in 60 hours a week in an office with 300 ppl but no promotion cuz of the budget. You know how those WASP ethics go though. Not rich must be lazy. Have a problem must just be lazy. I work in a professional field and I was not the only white collar professional present today. I am not asking for anything that I have not paid for and I have paid my share and then some. I have a right to say that my money will be spent to the benefit of the people and not corporations. I have a right to walk down a street or gather or even camp in a park that I helped pay for when expressing my constitutional right to assemble and speak. I have the right to be angry when police that I pay for are traumatizing my child and other children. I actually do know what costs are associated with my child's education, the commons, infrastructure, etc. so feel free to save the patronizing for other ignorant people. Entitled my rear.......it is not entitlement to ask for what you paid for.
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Portland Police: "get a permit or we'll use violence on you." I'm amazed at how many of the comments justify violence on the basis of the permit. We've been protesting completely non-violently for over a year now and you can still rationalize violence on the peaceful. Amazing.

Seriously. It's a turf war to the cops. That's all. They even say that they'll protect us if we'll only fill out a little piece of paper. Raw power tripping.
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@surrealanya

What if Mitt Romney 1% supporters started blocking traffic, transit, camping in parks, breaking windows, etc. to protest (I dunno, protesting the 47% who don't pay taxes, or something silly) and argued they had a Consitutional right to do so (i.e., free speech)?

You'd be on here, much like I am, saying they didn't have such a right, their interpretation of the Constitution is bogus, they're entitled, etc. I'd agree with you completely in such a conclusion.

It's a TWO WAY STREET. We have laws to protect the 100%, and there's good reasons we do. This is not about ideology.

It seem the supporters of these groups want to talk about the issues.

Guess what: When you block the streets illegally, we're not talking about the issues; we're talking about how you're entitled and how police officers are peppering protesters. Is this the narrative you wish to discuss? I dunno, it seems any public disorder is a victory in your book. Good luck with that, because you're failing in the public eye.
25
@ws

What do Mitt Romney supporters have to do with anything? Both the democrats and the republicans share quite a bit of the blame for destroying social services. I'm not seeing any Obama signs in those photos, are you?

As for all this "public disorder" that you are so concerned about, get a life. There is exponentially more public disorder in the relatively small town that I come from on any given night than happened here. I guarantee that you've spent more time whining on the internet tonight than anybody spent being blocked in traffic during the protest.
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I suspect that the authorities found the wooden banner threatening because it expressed a solidarity message in three languages: Spanish, English, and what appears to me to be Korean.

And I see at least one person holding a message protesting the wasted trillions of military spending. He's holding a drone labeled U.S. Army and it has signs above it saying "fund education, not war." Of course the CIA also has some of its own drones and is asking for more of them right now -- as the false dichotomy presidential candidates express the "need" to cut Social Security, Medicare, etc.
27
I had no idea maalox was Al/Mg hydroxide! I'll have to try it next time I get dyspeptic, it'll probably work better than the weak-ass sodium bicarbonate I've been using.

I wouldn't put it in my eyes, though.
28
Well, bet this 'march' sure did a lot of good, right?
All kinds of change are sure to be happening now, I'll bet.
29
people who complain about permits & blocked traffic sound whiney & juvenile while our schoolls & every social service are constantly losing funding...thats what youre worried about? paying for free speach & speedy a speedy commute to where ever youre going on a saturday? the mall perhaps?
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what is wrong with people complaining about this?? dont you see this is an action to express out concern for education?! for social services to elderly, disabled, homeless, veterans, unemployed....we are here to show that we CARE about how we take care of eachother. about how tax dollars are spent when they are just cutting service funds & putting money into war. & people have the nerve to say "guess that did alot of good". this is why our country has the worst education. cuz peope are too busy with their own agenda. what a shame.
31
Crybaby anarchists live on gov't handouts and flip anytime there's a grand jury. Did the march form at Saint Francis Dining Hall? I can't wait until the Red and Black shuts down- my only regret is hearing the anrachhists whine about the fact that a socialist through a brick through THEIR window. Wahwahwah. Go cops!
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@ws. I support everone's right to assemble peacefully. We did not break or destroy any windows, vehicles, etc. I have been to protests where there have been counter protests and I have never bothered, harrassed, or otherwise given grief to any of them. I just moved back from Sacramento and two protests I was involved in there were a Code Pink march prior to the recall election of Gray Davis (we were opposing Arnie) and a Gay Rights coalition opposed to Prop 8 (which overturned gay marriage). At the first there were pro-life activists protesting us rather peacefully and we never so much as gave them a dirty look although we were wondering if they realized why we were there. At the second there were large numbers of cultural conservatives screaming obscenities at us and no one at the protests I was at deigned to respond. The behavior of some of the members of the other side did not cause me to make a negative value judgement about the character of all those who supported Prop 8 as that would just be silly. Neither did people's support of Prop 8, which I consider to be a blatantly evil piece of legislation, cause me to discount their worth or value as a person. I have been active in various causes since I was a teenager and I will admit that all movements have problems with people being aggressive and stupid. This goes for ones I have been to and ones I am opposed to and I do not judge the whole by the actions of a few whether we have the same beliefs or not. It is important to me that people actively and peacefully advocate for what they believe, not that they share my beliefs. If you do not agree with what we did that is fine. I take issue with the false assumptions present in some of your comments. I began activism under the tutelage of people who explained to me that we march peacefully and engage in civil disobedience rather than riot and why. I am a working professional and the only person in a large family who has progressive beliefs. The rest of my family ranges from tea party to the far right of the cultural conservative spectrum (my mother, for example, has told me on several occassions that Fallwell is burning in hell because he was a liberal). Underneath some of the rhetoric and belief in different methodologies though, my family and I share some common goals for ourselves and the commons and these similarities between us could lead to consensus on many issues. However the media and the two party system as run by TNCs would have us believe all of our differences cannot be reconciled because as long as we are divided we expend our energy fighting each other and not the injustices we agree on. They portray all sides in a way to further our divide and cause tension between groups who share many beliefs and goals. They have used race, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation, age, etc to divide us and we have let them. They also perpetrate the myth that we must vote for a Republicrat or the worser evil (whoever that may be to each of us) will win and we will suffer for it. What I like about the Occupy movement is the goal of a voice for all and consensus. Those are important principles in democracy and I encourage you to explore the Occupy decision making model. I would also encourage you to look at the underlying goals of different parts of the movement and evaluate them on their own merit rather than your feelings about some of the members and methodology. I, for one, would not hesitate to accompany you to a meeting to voice your grievance about trimet and the aggressiveness of some members or any other issues you may have. I am not always in agreement with proposals or methodology myself and cherish my right to dissent within the movement.
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I feel like participating in the rally and marching me made a part of a movement toward a solution(s). If someone believes that the Portland Police dept. and those in charge are best qualified to control the direction of society and how we live our lives, thats sad and I hope a spirit of light touches them in a way that they will at least acknowledge the legitimacy of seeing things in a different way.
34
get rid of public sector unions. attempt reform and look at who is doing the wasteful spending in government.
35
I disagree with the actions of the Police, but it is clear at least some protesters were clearly trying to illicit a police response. The response that occurred should not be a shock given Portland history. Please stop drawing comparisons to Dr King, you are not in the same galaxy, although your cause is a very valid one which I support