The Portland Police Bureau is worried about Occupy Portland's efforts to bring in supporters ahead of Sunday morning's sweep of Chapman and Lownsdale squares and Terry Schrunk Plaza.
They don't much like that occupiers from other cities are coming in (like from Seattle, which is confirmed). And they're hearing that "anarchists" are preparing to descend on the camp to help hold it and also talk that people are looking to get gas masks (which they are; they don't want to retch if and when tear gas is used).
But they're mostly worried about fortification efforts they say began early this morning in Chapman Square. I haven't been down to the camps since late last night, so I can't personally say if that's happening—but police have definitely stepped up their presence in the campsites since yesterday and were poking into tents and talking with people in a way they hadn't always been doing. And that part of the park does have a big cluster of tents and tarps, complete with a door.
As I noted in my last post, yes, the General Assembly overwhelmingly and lovingly approved nonviolence, but, no, by far, a lot of the campers who might not want to leave Occupy Portland don't always show up to GAs to vote. Stay tuned!
We understand a call has gone out to Oakland, Seattle and San Francisco and perhaps other cities encouraging people to come to Portland and engage in resistance. People in the camp are expecting 100-300 re-enforcements from various locations. There may even be as many as 150 anarchists who will arrive soon. There is information that people may be in the in trees during a police action and that there are people who are attempting to obtain a large number of gas masks.
There is a hole being dug in one of the parks and wood is being used to reinforce the area around it. There are reports that nails have been hammered into wood for weapons and that generally there are people in the camps preparing for a confrontation with police.
Last night Portland Police officers provided security while Portland Parks and Recreation security manager posted "No Camping" signs in the park. 36 signs were posted in all, although some were taken down by the occupiers almost immediately.
People were seen carrying pallets into the camp shortly after 1:00 a.m. this morning. The destination of the pallets is a structure with graffiti in the northwest part of Chapman Park, also known as "The 420 Hotel". The people there are very suspicious of any passers by, we are not sure at this point what exactly they are doing. We have been told it looks like they were making shields.
Update 2 PM: Occupy's media volunteers respond. The reiterate that 10 people so far are coming from Seattle, but say the solidarity reinforcements, at least of that nature, are arriving in the name of nonviolence.
Claims that we are organizing massive numbers of people from other cities, including anarchists, to confront police action violently are false. ... There have been no calls from the Occupy Portland movement to mobilize any kind of forceful resistance to the police, and last night's General Assembly reaffirmed all of these things. We cannot control what individuals do.
The whole thing's after the jump.
The Portland Police recently released a statement concerning efforts to prepare for a confrontation Saturday night. The following is a response to that statement.
Occupy Portland is a non-violent movement. It has always been a non-violent movement. It will continue to be a non-violent movement. Claims that we are organizing massive numbers of people from other cities, including anarchists, to confront police action violently are false. The Portland Police have been engaging for the last several weeks in a campaign to defame and confuse the message of our movement by attributing the actions and statements of individuals to the movement as a whole, and they continue to do so.
We are aware that about 10 people from Seattle have volunteered to come down to Portland Saturday and stand in peaceful solidarity with our movement in a time of need. There have been no calls from the Occupy Portland movement to mobilize any kind of forceful resistance to the police, and last night's General Assembly reaffirmed all of these things. We cannot control what individuals do.
The claims made are extremely heavy ones, and describe a type of organized effort to create violent confrontation that is patently absent. The efforts by the Portland Police to date have successfully created a perception that the violent actions of some reflect the majority of people present, and that is in contradiction with the facts that any citizen can easily observe by simply a cursory examination of our protest with their own eyes.
Any one that is engaging in violent resistance is doing so in direct contradiction to the values outline by the Portland General Assembly, and in doing so is by definition not representing Occupy Portland. The City understands this position, and we encourage our government and the police to use a modicum of tact and reason when engaging the public with information. This release cannot be seen in any other light than an attempt to undermine our efforts for a peaceful interaction with supporters around the city, and to discourage involvement by the common people within our city Saturday night at our Potluck and rally.
We are many, and we are peaceful.