I have many pictures and videos that are currently loading up on my computers for editing. I will be posting these ASAP, not letting them sit forever like the Eviction and N17 photos and videos, which I also want to be done with by the end of the weekend.
Yesterday I had to bug out early, around 2 PM, to take my son to an appointment. Before I left, I saw no incidents with the police, though there might have been a little incident down around the federal courthouse that I did not witness directly, being distracted by taking pictures of the umbrella in the antlers…
Wednesday’s protest was called “F29,” as in February 29. Demonstrations were held in Portland and across the country to draw attention to a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC.
The Occupy movement’s biggest issue is with large corporations that they say use ALEC to craft legislation that favorable to them. The proposed laws are then forwarded to state lawmakers where they’re introduced in individual states.
Occupiers say that gives the appearance of popular support across the nation for any one particular issue. The protesters argue that’s essentially rigging the nation’s political system.
“Our goal today is to draw attention to the companies that are involved in ALEC and to expose that the biggest companies in the world are writing as much as 10 percent of the legislation that passes through our House here in Oregon,” said Brian Sloan with Occupy Portland.
Those behind the Occupy movement say ALEC allows corporations to influence laws without being held directly accountable for what those laws do.
Portland Police called the demonstrations well facilitated, generally peaceful and largely non-contentious. Lt. Robert King says F29 organizers designated a police liaison which made for reduced tension and more effective communication between police and protesters.
In all, seven people were arrested throughout the day. At the Wells Fargo Tower, three people were charged with criminal trespassing after they chained themselves to property with bike locks.
Two were arrested along SW Broadway for vandalism after jumping on a Verizon van. At a Bank of America at NE 12th and Broadway, two people were arrested for criminal trespassing after they refused to leave.
While I was there, the only riot police I saw were staying about six blocks away from the march. As the march moved through the city, they would move as well, but keeping their distance unless legitimately needed. This sort of staging plan seemed to work well from what I saw, since closer proximity always seems to provoke people rather than deter people.
This article refers to an event late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning…
On their twitter account, Occupy fired back Wednesday morning at the vandals. "To the rock tossers: Thank you for not hiding behind Occupy and forcing peaceful marchers to take a beating for you this time."
Earlier this month, Occupy Portland activists called out anarchists who resorted to vandalism during a march on police use of force. Some marchers turned on each other as windows in cars and a restaurant were broken.
An anti-bank march last November called N17 turned ugly, with activists accusing the police of excessive force and police saying they were trying to keep roadways clear. The conflict received national attention because of a dramatic use of pepper spray by police. An image from that protest captured by an Oregonian photographer received worldwide distribution through social networks.
The group spoke out specifically against the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which is comprised of America's largest corporations like ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo and McDonalds.
When the demonstrators approached a building housing one of those corporations, they chanted and waved signs at those inside.
A group appearing to be separate from Occupy Portland vandalized two banks and a Starbucks shop overnight, and then emailed a statement to media in which they wished the Occupy movement good luck with its protest.
Just for giggles, I checked Fox News.com… There is nothing on the landing page about any Occupation activities anywhere yesterday.
I suppose if they mentioned the F29 actions, they would have to mention ALEC, which would probably anger their dark overlords. (The local Portland affiliate is much less evil.)
Fox did have room on their home page for this today: “Escorts claim Utah law makes acting sexy illegal.” Insert your own joke about Fox News on-camera “talent.” Nothing from Fox on the politics page, either, though they did have room, again, for the article I mentioned above.
To be fair, I could not find mention of any actions on CNN.com or MSNBC, either. I guess the other actions around the country were not as big of a deal as was hoped.
If the main goal of the protest was 1) to call attention to ALEC, and 2) to remind people that people are still pissed off and that the Occupation is still active, then I think the day, in Portland, at least, was a success.
The next several videos are from someone who seems to be looking for dirt on the occupation. I do respect the fact that he actually went down and took a look at what was going on, but I am not sure that these videos actually accomplish his goals.
Uh oh, dude put on a bandana. The barbarians are at the gates!
I disagree with calling the cops assholes. I, however, agree that the horses and cars are owned by the people. Using the banners to provide a safe barrier between the horses and the crowd was a well-planned part of the action and a great idea.
This appears to show the tensest part of the day. It was after I left, so I am not sure. This is nothing compared to N17, and it looks like the police handled themselves well. (No pepper spray!)
With this next video, I saw this and I am actually on this video in the background (black hood with camera, 1:02), taking a picture from the other side of the horses. There was no incident here.
Ah, shucks. Vandalism!
Hee, hee… I love this next one. The only thing I don’t like is that there were as many photographers in there as there were protesters! McDonalds… Not worth risking jail for?
This person finally caught some real dirt on this last clip.
Yes, the fellow with the umbrella is a moron and you have called him out. My only disappointment with the protesters here is that no one pulled him aside and shut him down. The whole point of actions like this is to bring media attention to issues such as ALEC, and this sort of behavior does nothing to support the cause.
I've seen some idiots get really out of line, much worse than this, with the Fox 12 crews, which is very lame. Fox 12 is very balanced compared to the cable network and many other local Fox affiliates around the country.
I've also witnessed many of its staff expressing a lot of sympathy and support, off camera, for the Occupy movement, at least earlier on. This includes on-air personalities.
If these were the worst incidents of the day, then it was a very good day indeed. Good behavior marks all around, to both the protesters and the police.
My take is that the mood was very different than the November actions. It felt a lot more like the opening rally and march on October 6. Obviously the eviction was going to be a tense and violent time, but I think the feelings from that night and day spilled over to taint the actions of N17, both with the police and with the protesters, more than they would have if the two events had a little more space between them.