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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Occupy Portland Aims to Occupy Park Blocks

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Midnight
Another strange turn of events: For about half an hour, the re-occupiers danced in the South Park Blocks, chanting and basically waiting to see what the police would do. The police did exactly what you'd expect: Amassed a large number of riot police near the park and appeared ready to move in to clear the park.

Over the police scanner, an officer said, "Is there anybody who's not in position?" Then the order was given to "roll"... swiftly followed by an order to hold off. Then, at about 11:50, a voice over the scanner said, "All units return to Central, where we'll write reports & hopefully have pizza. I'll explain when I get there." The order was repeated: "I want every officer who was out here tonight to return to Central and write reports."

Then the scanner essentially went silent for Occupy news—just the usual reports of hit and runs people kicking in doors wielding machetes.

Not really sure what's going on, but we're assuming "Code Pepperoni" can mean two things:
1) The police (and mayor?) have decided it's better to hold off and try to clear the South Park Blocks when there's less of a crowd. Waiting until dawn worked almost seamlessly to clear the previously occupied parks.
2) Something went seriously wrong during the interactions earlier this evening and the police are looking to sort of the details ASAP.

Meanwhile, the O has a startling photo of a 15-year-old protester who was injured earlier tonight.

11:10pm
Surprise!

After marching around Old Town, the protesters suddenly got coordinated and started running full speed BACK to the South Park Blocks, from which they were evicted just over two hours ago. The protesters arrived in the park and immediately established a Michael Jackson dance party at the scene. There's about 600-800 people at the protest currently, with only about five police officers in sight, according to News Editor Denis Theriault. There's definitely more people in the park now than there were pre-eviction.

Re-Occupied! The Park Blocks at of 11:10 tonight.

10:40pm
The march is now reportedly wandering around Old Town. The crowd is over 300 people strong, which is large enough to block traffic and garner alternate solidarity fists/"Fuck You!"s from the bros hitting the bars downtown.

It's a bit of a cat and mouse game, with police seemingly trying to guess the direction of the march and block it off, but overall taking a hands-off approach to the protest at this moment. There appear to be few or no riot police directly around the march. There is, of course, at least one person on stilts.

Here's a photo from Twitter user Interdome of the march:

scaled.jpg

10pm
The protest has taken off marching from city hall down SW 4th Avenue, while blasting Bjork.

No explanation for that last part.

9:50pm


Several lines of riot police stretching the entire width of the park advanced into the park, using their batons to jab protesters who stayed put. It was definitely a rougher confrontation than previous interactions between Occupy Portland and the police. There were several reports of injuries, say Denis Theriault and Matt Bors, with several protesters showing split lips and bruises. One protest organizer named Mike Bluehair was shoved to the ground by police and allegedly kicked.

"They shoved me and fell to the ground, then they started kneeing me and kicking me. But they let me up, though," says Mike.

There was no use of pepper spray, or even a warning that it might be used. An ambulance were called to treat injured protesters, though it's unclear right now whether any are serious. A number of people who refused to leave the park were also arrested—hopefully we'll have an accurate number of arrests soon but so far the only number is "at least six."

Once they were pushed out of the park, a large group of protesters remained on Salmon Street, chanting and dancing. Eventually, a chant of "CITY HALL! CITY HALL!" went up and the crowd marched through the streets to City Hall, joining a group of protesters who had gathered there earlier.

The total crowd seems to number 300-400 and now the scene feels like a big raucous party outside City Hall: Someone has a Christmas tree and there's a dude with a gas mask up on the balcony outside Nick Fish's office. Just a regular Saturday night in Portland!

9 pm
Several vans of riot police are currently on the scene. Lots of shouting and chanting of "SHAME ON YOU!" from the Occupier side, but so far the police have not actually moved in and attempted to sweep the park. The park has been declared shut by an "emergency ordinance," but it's not clear what the emergency is.

photo.JPG
  • jake hachquet

8:30pm
The police just announced that they're closing the South Park Blocks half an hour early. There is a PA truck, a phalanx of riot police, and a dozen bike cops around the South Park Blocks, announcing that everyone who's in the park will be arrested if they don't leave immediately.

Occupy supporters had about 20 tents up in the afternoon, but now people are slowly taking the tents down.

Denis Theriault reports from the scene: "This is going to bifurcate. The plan I've heard is that some people [Occupiers] are going to stay here and likely get arrested and another group is likely going to head to city hall."

Sounds like police will be moving in very soon. The Occupy-run livestream is here.

Update 7:30pm

The Occupy bat signal is up and running at the South Park Blocks and a crowd is still at the site. There are about 20 tents up and word on the street is that the police are considering enforcing a park eviction at 9pm. Riot police are reportedly suiting up and on site.

ORIGINAL POST:

A business owner skeptically watched the Occupy march pass his shop.
  • Matt Bors
  • A business owner skeptically watched the Occupy march pass his shop.
Well, the "reoccupation" is underway. Supporters of Occupy Portland met at Salmon Springs fountain this afternoon and went on a round-about march to a previously undisclosed site they hope will be a new tent city for a two-week long occupation.

The location chosen for the reoccupation was kept secret because protest organizers worried about the police getting word of the location and shutting down the protest before it even started.

After marching over the Willamette and back again just around downtown, the 300-person crowd headed to the mystery location: the South Park Blocks, right behind the Schnitzer. When the group arrived, people started shouting, "Welcome home!"

There was minimal police presence along the march and, although Mayor Sam Adams said yesterday that park closure hours would be enforced, minimal police presence at the Park Blocks so far. As Occupiers started setting up tents, one the handful of police officers accompanying the march told them to take the tent down, but after the crowd began chanting, "We love the police!" no action was taken.

As Denis Theriault reports, the parks are now home to five tents, three canopies, and several platters of veggie chips.

Updates as we have them!

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