“Police move in, reopen Main Street, arrest protesters” [corporate news]

From KATU TV. Published: Oct 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM PDT.



PORTLAND, Ore. – Protesters with the Occupy Portland movement sat in the middle of Main Street on Wednesday evening as Mayor Sam Adams took his most aggressive stance yet asking them to clear the road.

Thursday morning, Adams was back down on Main Street before sunrise as police began to remove barricades just before 6 a.m. About a dozen people were forcibly removed and eight people were arrested. Traffic is now flowing on Main Street.

Portland Police chief Mike Reese was also on the scene as officers cleared away barricades and arrested protesters. Police said they will face misdemeanor charges.

Wednesday afternoon, police officers also told protesters in the road that the bureau was weighing the possibility of forcibly removing them from the road.

However, after a four-hour meeting, the General Assembly of the protest group said they would allow one lane open for emergency vehicles,  bicycles and the anti-war protest expected this weekend.

That wasn’t enough for the mayor and police.

Adams told protesters on Wednesday that he’s been patient for three days and now they needed to clear the road, which is a main route through downtown coming off the Hawthorne Bridge.

He tweeted that the Occupy movement is “about economic inequity, not street closures.” There was a large police presence at the Main Street location Thursday morning.

Through Wednesday afternoon, the majority of protesters seemed to support the idea of clearing the road, although a vocal minority seemed committed to staying in place. Many protesters told KATU News they wanted to open the street as it was distracting from their message of economic inequality.

Protester Andrew Ross told KATU that he expects protesters to be out in Portland for quite some time, but he said 80 percent of protesters were in favor of opening Main Street to traffic.

“People are ready at any time for the police to ask them to move,” he said. Mayor Adams said Thursday morning that he had no plans so far to remove protesters camped out in downtown parks and also said he felt protesters had legitimate issues that had brought them out to the streets in Portland and across the nation.

He said protesters hold a “general assembly” meeting at 7 p.m. every night to discuss the day and their goals. They planned to meet again on Wednesday evening.

A protest organizer tweeted “let’s be respectful and move out of the road, it’s about give and take.”

Earlier, protesters offered to open the road to pedestrians, bikes and buses, but not cars. Police said that was no adequate.

At one point, several protesters sat in the road as the driver of a pickup truck tried to get through.

The driver said he was trying to get to a hiking trail and didn’t realize protesters had closed the road. He spoke with protesters for a while near the barricade before police showed up. They cleared space so he could back up and take a different road.

Police Chief Mike Reese surveyed the protesters around 1:30 p.m. He said his bureau has not ordered a deadline for protesters to clear the road and that his plan is continue a dialog. But that apparently changed Thursday morning.

Sometime during Wednesday morning, a vandal took a blue permanent marker and wrote “PIG” across the trunk of a Portland Police car. Officers said it happened between 8:45 and 10:20 a.m. on SW Madison between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

Main Street is one of the heaviest trafficked streets in downtown and is a main bus and bike commute corridor. Protesters blocked the street beginning last Thursday. It had become a point of contention between the mayor, police and the protesters.

Early Wednesday morning, it appeared protesters had opened the road to buses and bicyclists, but the parked vehicles of protesters made the road too narrow for buses so only bicycles were getting through.

Later on, however, the road appeared to close again with protesters in the street manning the barricades.

In Salem, Ore., Oregon State Police troopers warned 15 protesters camping near the Capitol that they are in jeopardy of being arrested for trespassing charges.

No arrests had been reported as of Wednesday morning. Police and parks officials said Tuesday they would wait to see the reaction of the protesters, according to the Salem Statesman Journal.

At similar Occupy protests across the nation, protesters have clashed with police and been arrested for not clearing public spaces in accordance with city ordinances. There have been hundreds of arrests. In Portland, no arrests related to civil disobedience have been reported.

Worldwide, October 15 is shaping up to be a critical day for the Occupy protest movement. A large rally is expected to take place in London, England, and in many other cities around the globe.

Most of the Occupy protests are focused on the division of wealth between the rich and working class. Other groups protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other issues have mixed in with many Occupy protest rallies.

This entry was posted in News - All, News - Portland, Occupy Portland and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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