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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dance Party Occupies Bank of America Doorway—Riot Cops Occupy Street

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Bank action update! After arrests inside the Wells Fargo over on Fifth and Taylor (with cops aiming tear gas guns at protesters down on Fourth while the arrested were shunted into police vans), downtown's assault on big papa banks turned its gaze to the Bank of America over on SW Second and Morrison and then, after a longtime dance party and a visit from a bike swarm, to the Chase branch over at Pioneer Square.

It's been tense, at times, mostly because protesters kept wanting to stay together in a big sidewalk-bound column, ignoring traffic signals so they wouldn't get separated. In one of the nerviest confrontations, when protesters thronged onto Alder, horse cops and big-stick riot cops pushed them back onto the sidewalk and nearly got into a shoving match with some.

Things got festive again by the time marchers mad their way to the Bank of America, with even bike cops chatting with protesters, and a generator-powered funk boombox wheeled in for a bash. A dozen or so folks sat down and lit money on fire and slipped notes between the bank's glass doors.

Then the tension, once more. Marchers who had left for Waterfront Park came back, freaking out cops who didn't want MAX service on Morrison disrupted. Then a bunch of protesters coursed toward Pioneer Square and drew a heavy response from dozens, if not hundreds, of cop, Sarah Mirk reports. TriMet had only recently resumed normal service on the yellow and green lines. Whoops!

Sarah just a while ago tweeted that the crowds seem to be dispersing after a bout of shouting and some dancing. Now she just showed up back here in the office. It's raining. And people said they were hungry. Here's a recent statement by organizers:

On November 17th, environmentalists, human rights advocates, prison reformers, organized labor and clowns coordinated direct actions, street theater, and sit-ins shutting down seven banks and the Steel Bridge in Portland. Thirty-four people were arrested in these actions, which also occurred in dozens of cities across the United States to mark the two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

Protesters occupying the doorway of Bank of America on SW 2nd:

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And a police sergeant and bucket drummer having a rather intense discussion on SW 6th, at Pioneer Square. Despite how this photo makes it seem, the drummer was actually shouting and the officer was speaking in a normal voice.

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