October 07, 2006

October 5th, the pig riot

by Bash
I have been to many protests, witnessed countless acts of police brutality, but none compare to what I saw today. Bean bag guns, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and billy clubs; all of them used to attack peaceful protestors. Friends of mine were trampled by horses, beaten by billy clubs, and peppersprayed severely. All in an disgusting display of extreme police brutality. My hands are still shaking and my eye still hurts from pepper spray so I will try to write this as best as I can...

The rally began at 12:00, in Park and Main. Around 18 students in my school (located on 12th and Main) walked out of school to participate in the protest. Prior to the protest some students and I were deeply dissatisfied with World Can't Waits comments about discouraging direct action, and had absolutely no idea what the protest would be like. We arrived at the park blocks seeing a crowd of maybe 500 people listening to speeches. The majority of the population was middle aged liberals, but there were also a good number of students there as well. After a couple speeches, an incredibly inspiring woman gave a speech about the importance of direct action. She questioned world can't wait about their ridiculous statements discouraging direct action. Some world can't wait organizers booed her, which was incredibly disrespectful and rude.

After what seemed like eternity, the march finally began. Almost half the crowd left during the speeches, but more and more people started joining the protest as we were marching. I would guess, but I'm not sure, that there were about 550 people there. As we walked about 6 blocks from the park, people started asking why we were following the police in what looked like a parade. Every single speaker talked about taking action to create change, but yet we were still following oppressive police barriers for our permitted marches. People began becoming confused on where to go, and we walked in a loop all the way down from the park and then back up it. As we took the next turn, it was visible that we were walking down a street that wasn't permitted. The police tried to cut in front of us, but eventually got orders to let us through, this happened two times. The crowd was ecstatic; we had successfully taken the streets, for a short time anyway. The police had lined up on bikes against a street and we stood there for awhile wondering if they would still let us through. I strongly believe they would have, if the liberal peace police didn't try to get all the protestors back on the permitted streets. One man with a megaphone talked about how the government had now given access to schools to strip search students. He also talked about how we should protect the students. Ironically, he said all of this while abandoning students who were at risk of being attacked by police. I screamed for people to protect us, the students, and that change begins now. Many liberals argued with me that civil disobedience is wrong and what the crowd was doing was stupid. I informed them about how MLK had been arrested upwards 20 times for acts of civil disobedience, they didn't really argue past that.

Eventually, the crowd had to give up because the rest of the protest had kept marching on. I was very angry about the lack of solidarity some of those protesters showed. We moved on to the Oregonian building and chanted "FREE THE PRESS". Drummers formed a drum circle on the sidewalk outside the Oregonian building, and the energy of the crowd was immense. One protestor asked the Oregonian staff to please actually write about this protest and other protests in a truthful matter; he didn't really get a response. Security guards were standing right outside the doorway, watching our every move.

Once again, the crowd moved on, and more and more riot police started lining the streets. A police helicopter flew overhead of us consistently throughout the rest of the protest. As we were walking back to Park and Main, protestors started sprinting up Jefferson. The majority of the protest followed, some went back to the park. I sprinted as fast as I could to the front of the protest to see what was going on. Police tried to stop many of us, and I think someone was arrested, when we were running up Jefferson. Bike police had already lined up on 12th and Jefferson, stopping the protest. Police on horses zoomed passed me, bumping into many people. All of a sudden, I started hearing screaming, and saw batons fly up in the air. People were being pepper sprayed at the head of the protest, and police started attacking protestors, doing "snatch and grabs". I saw a friend get tackled by the police twenty feet away from the police lineup. Three police started attacking him and stepping on him while he was on the ground. Shots fired, people were screaming all around me. A friend told me a woman was sitting on the sidewalk while all of this was happening and was intentionally kicked by the police. Police shot rubber bullets at the woman sitting on the ground, but I don't believe they hit her. People were getting trampled by the horses, and more shots fired. Protesters were hyperventilating around me, and I could see three guys in serious pain 30 feet away. I ran to them and found they had been severely pepper sprayed, they were yelling in extreme pain. I mixed one part water one part Maalox and poured it in their eyes and all around their body. Two of them had their entire upper body covered in pepper spray. Pepper spray, from the guy I was giving medical attention to, had gotten on my arm, and some around my eye. We ran out of water, and I sprinted to my school, not 10 feet away. I asked for water and a basic solution safe for the eyes. My principle came out informing me that the school had gone in lockdown. The desk attendant at my school wouldn't even give me water to help the people dosed in pepper spray. That made me incredibly angry. I found out that some of the students that go to my school had been very badly pepper sprayed. Three women, who were doing absolutely nothing, got trampled by the police. As five minutes went by, riot police had filled Jefferson. "This is the Portland police, this is an illegal assembly, if you do not move you will be subject to chemical weapons... blah blah", the Portland pigs announced. Everyone went on the sidewalks, as the police began laughing and pointing their rubber bullet and bean bag guns at us. Cops barricaded the sidewalks with their bikes, giving smirks to all the protestors. Elmore, a cop who has personally told me he was going to beat the shit out of me in a past protest, waved his gun around, laughing while doing so. The corporate media flogged the sidewalks, we yelled at them to tell the fucking truth, I doubt they will.

Everyone seemed to disperse, as the protest came to a close. I was informed that ten people had been arrested. I could hardly walk back to the bus stop I was so shocked and exhausted. After many calls to the NWCRC (Northwest constitutional rights center) I went home, in pain and confused.

If you had a camera and filmed the police brutality that occurred today, PLEASE CONTACT NWCRC and Portland Indymedia, your footage is extremely important to bringing down these fucking pigs. Also, if you were attacked by the police, please call the NWCRC (also jail support) at 503 233 3194.


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