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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Justin Bridges Speaks at Occupy Assembly

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Yesterday evening, Occupy Portlanders reunited in force at Pioneer Courthouse Square for their daily General Assembly, where ideas of goals/plans/issues are discussed in a public forum. Backed by piped-in Christmas music from the nearby Starbucks and shadowed by the looming undressed Christmas Holiday tree, there was a clear rejuvenation among the 200 or so after a long-winded, exhausting weekend.

The meeting started off well with clear intentions, but once the PA system was set up and a microphone introduced (what? no mic check?), things started getting weird. Relevant discussions and points were interrupted by folks who just wanted a podium and an audience. Some bashed those with homes to retreat to, others criticized audience members who hadn't been there since the beginning. Unnecessary and off-topic.

Despite the hero-complexed mic-stealer time, some things we decided. Like where to meet tomorrow night (Spokescouncil meeting at 7 pm at 1126 SW Park). Nothing wild. But! The highlight of the night: Justin James Bridges, the occupier injured by police officers during Sunday's eviction, arrived by wheelchair straight from Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Bridges shared his upsetting story with the crowd (the same one he told the Mercury's Sarah Mirk earlier yesterday) between tears and obvious physical pain. "All I have to say is the cowards that showed up in uniform yesterday were not the same respectable men that stood on the front lines the morning before," Bridges said to the hushed crowd. "You cannot attack peace with violence and expect us to dissipate. We will only grow stronger. I’m in excruciating pain, but I had to come tell you the truth. The police are bold face liars. Wake up America."

Here's a shoddy photo from his speech:

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