Occupy Portland Maintains Peace as Police Clear Encampments

In an extraordinary display of patience and solidarity the stand-off between Occupy Portland and the Portland Police Bureau has thus remained peaceful. Preliminary reports speculated downtown streets were crowded with up to 5,000 supporters, many of whom were not residents of the Occupy Portland Encampment (which was ordered to vacate public parks by midnight last night). It was not the Tiananmen Square massacre the media blitz had prepared for all day.

Big media and its ability to control and spin information has been a bone of contention throughout Occupy protests. In an interview with Portland Police Lieutenant, Robert King, around 1am this morning a TV reporter relentlessly attempted to sensationalize the stand-off. Lieutenant King remained on-point with the message that protestors were in fact peaceful and had given no reason for anyone to believe the stand-off would escalate to violence. The reporter further provoked him by emphasizing that the deadline had passed yet there were still thousands of protestors present. The same question was asked over and over, the subtext of which was: Yes, but when will you start kicking them out? At what time will you force them to leave? How will you physically remove them? An unflappable Lieutenant King reiterated his belief that people would voluntarily vacate the area as the hours passed, the police would give them the space to do so and that they would remain generally peaceful. He was right. The city’s intention is not to stop Occupy Portland, but to merely end the encampment part of it and restore the parks to their original state. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this, but there was mention of several preventative actions the city took in the preceding days to ensure a peaceful transition. Another officer recounted two remarkable incidents he witnessed in the early hours. A policeman was struck and injured by a projectile from the crowd, but rather inciting a flashpoint for violence Occupiers pushed the man who threw the object to the open street where he was apparently taken away. Additionally, a scuffle erupted amongst two protestors who were immediately encircled by a crowd chanting, “Peace! Peace! Peace!” until the fight came to an end.

Currently the situation downtown remains tense, but non-violent as police remove the last of the hold-out shelters. The majority of Occupiers have willingly dismantled their tents and are working together to leave no trace. The city has provided dump trucks and there is still a strong police presence. In the coming days and weeks there will be an opportunity for solidarity in the park restoration effort. Occupiers are already talking about donating grass seeds and shrubbery to the parks which became encampments. Though the movement has not been without its challenges and distractions, overall it has been a success. I heartily commend both sides for exercising tolerance and restraint in the last twenty-four hours. I hope it remains peaceful.

To find out what’s next for Occupy Portland, view a live stream of the scene and support independent media visit their website. We have a voice. We can make a difference. Peace.

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2 responses to “Occupy Portland Maintains Peace as Police Clear Encampments

  1. This could have gone either way, and I’m very happy it seems to be ending peacefully. Some people are outraged the Police didn’t just barge in and start handcuffing people and hauling them out. Had they done this, this would be a whole different story today. The mob would have been fired up, prokoving all kinds of mayhem. The few remaining occupiers will trickle out and then the city can fence off the park and start repairing. Today, we are not hearing about police brutality, nor are we seeing footage of anarchists bashing out windows etc. The news anchors are surely disappointed, but I for am would call this a success. Good job to the Mayor, the Portland Police and the people of Occupy Portland. Boo to the media and shame on them for always trying to create a story, where no story exists.

    jb

  2. I’m happy that it was peaceful, but I’m not happy to hear about Homeland Security’s involvement. It’s no coincidence that all these raids were so similar and took place within a few days of one another (Mayor Kwan of Oakland let a little nugget about nationwide conference calls slip). I’m also not happy to hear about first amendment rights curtailed and city after city moving towards police state.

    That said, if anything this simply reinvigorates the movement and reshifts attention towards it. I stand with Occupy and encourage everyone else to do so, as well.

    We visited the camp on Veterans’ Day and I made my daughter write an essay (in addition to the stale thing about the Congressional Medal of Honor she had to do) about the movement and its alliance with Veterans for Peace, as well as her general impressions. This is history being made and our children’s world being shaped. Talk to them about it. Involve them. Encourage your school (FYI her “Core” teacher hated it and probably won’t even give her extra credit for it, I don’t care) to teach about this and other parts of the civil rights movement.

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