March 01, 2012 08:02Attachment: VIEW FILES
Today's F29 rally, march, and demonstrations were well facilitated, generally peaceful, and largely non-contentious. While today's events were promoted by organizers as peaceful demonstrations of free speech, some information obtained by the Police Bureau leading up to today's events had caused concern because it suggested that there would be large scale, possibly aggressive or violent, direct action resulting in significant disruptions in the downtown core. Luckily, that behavior did not materialize and concerns for safety and peace were largely relieved.
F29PDX organizers were in communication with the Mayor's Office in advance of today's events. Those conversations were informative and constructive, but neither led the organizers to obtain a permit nor provide a route for the march. However, for the first time, organizers arranged for a police liaison to communicate directly with the police during the protest. Police Commanders on the ground were able to effectively and continuously communicate with the liaison , which greatly helped with the facilitation of a safe route and a reduction of tensions throughout the march.
Additionally, there was less open hostility toward police compared to a recent "anti police brutality march." On one occasion during the march, event organizers helped to keep demonstrators moving and communicated repeatedly to the larger group that the police were not the problem - that they were not there to demonstrate against the police.
At one point during the march, a police car was surrounded by aggressive demonstrators who would not allow for safe passage of the vehicle out of the demonstration. The officer in the vehicle attempted to use lights and horns to clear a path but was unsuccessful. Bicycle officers attempted to create a pathway for the police car to exit the crowd but were unsuccessful. The Mounted Patrol Unit then attempted to use Police horses to create a safe passage for the exit of the vehicle, but were resisted by demonstrators. Finally, crowd-control officers in riot gear were requested by the incident commander to help the police car back out of the area. After the police car was able to leave the middle of the demonstration, all of the officers - bicycle officers, mounted patrol, and crowd-control officers - backed off and allowed the march and demonstration to continue. There were no direct physical confrontations between police officers and demonstrators during that process.
Today's events did result in 7 arrests which were performed in a peaceful and respectful manner. In fact, most of the people that marched today were cooperative with police. Of the 7 arrested, two were arrested for vandalizing a vehicle along the route, two were arrested for trespass at the Bank of America at 12th and NE Broadway, and the remaining three were arrested on the 34th floor of the Wells Fargo Bank. The names of the people who were arrested will be released tomorrow. At this time, there are no reports of any injuries during the arrests that occurred.
We appreciate that the majority of demonstrators at the march were extremely cooperative and maintained a positive tone of civil disobedience. Today Occupy Portland and the Portland Police Bureau worked together to ensure a safe and mostly peaceful march for all.
On Wednesday February 29, 2012, a "Shut Down the Corporations Day of Action" is being advertised both locally and nationally. Specifically, there is a call to people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Information suggests that actions will be taken in an attempt to shut down corporations, similar to the November 17, 2011 "Occupy the Banks" protests.
"Direct action" is being called for, which could include sit-ins, strikes, blockades, boycotts, banner drops, culture jamming, and performance, according to www.shutdownthecorporations.org.
The rally is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Waterfront at Southwest Naito Parkway and Ankeny Street, under the west side of the Burnside Bridge.
The march is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. and at this time, there is no known route or schedule despite requests to provide this information. No permits have been obtained for the march. How to obtain a permit is found on the City of Portland website, http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=29979&
The Police Bureau has learned from the organizers public communications that they intend to engage in disruptions. We want to remind everyone that the Police Bureau supports peaceful free speech events. In recent marches like the "No War in Iran", the "Immigration March" and the "Postal Service March", all events had permits and demonstrators followed all laws. In those marches, the Police Bureau assisted and no arrests were made.
The Police Bureau encourages event organizers to get a permit because it helps to provide guidelines that balance the needs of the demonstrators with the needs of the entire community. These guidelines outline the route, authorizing event participants to lawfully be in the street and it is designed to ensure the safe flow of all traffic in the Downtown core. Experience has shown that working with organizers on obtaining a permit makes the event more collaborative, which increases the overall success of the event for everyone.
The Police Bureau's responsibility in marches is to balance the rights of all involved and maintain public order. Without public order everyone's civil liberties would be at risk. Our job is to assure the safety and convenience of all people as they use Downtown streets. No one group can disobey laws to promote their message at the expense of the rest of the community's right to unrestricted use of the streets of the downtown core. We know that families need to pick up their kids from school, business must be able to conduct business and everyone in the community must be able to make their way safely throughout the city.
The Portland Police Bureau is committed to vigorously pursuing the goal of supporting participants to express their view which is their free speech right and we also support the needs of our community to move safely and without disruption through the city.
The Portland Police Bureau will be at this march and will take all appropriate action necessary to balance the rights of all involved, ensure everyone follows all laws and will take all necessary steps to ensure that this is a safe and peaceful event for all.
The Portland Police Bureau is asking that Downtown Portland businesses be aware of this event and prepare for possible disruptions. Additionally, the Police Bureau is asking for the community's patience and understanding as there may be disruptions to vehicle, pedestrian and TriMet traffic in the Downtown area during the duration of the event.
The Portland Police Bureau will continue to provide updates as they are available. The day of the event, follow @PortlandPolice on Twitter for updates and information.
Attachment: VIEW FILES
Sgt. Pete Simpson