In this news clip, the newscasters explain that the protestors in Portland are exploring their options but would ultimately like to return downtown to a park, which is understandable since the movement is called “Occupy” and part of the point seems to be being a peaceful thorn in the side of governments and business. The latest I have now heard is that they would like to Occupy PSU. At least the Portland Police are attempting to be transparent in releasing the many videos they have collected as evidence to either confirm or deny that they were in fact beating protestors with batons and abused the protestor Justin Bridges.
Occupy now is calling for Mayor Adams to apologize for police violence, here is a piece from the article which also links to Occupy Portland’s video:
The Occupiers’ case centers on Justin Bridges. At some point during the police-protester confrontation, police say, Bridges fell down in the middle of the crowd, and for his safety, officers moved him out of harm’s way. They say they put him in flex cuffs as officers talked with him, but he was never arrested.
The police bureau says it doesn’t appear he was ever hit by an officer. Bridges, however, tells a different story.
Occupy Portland posted a video online of Bridges talking from his hospital bed. He says police choked him and laughed at him. He also said he couldn’t feel his legs.
“I said I have a broken back. I need medical attention and the cops grabbed me by my legs and dragged me through the mud and then proceeded to beat me,” he said in the video posted at OccupyPdx.org.
Bridges was released from the hospital Monday and told his story to a General Assembly meeting at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Another letter to Mayor Sam Adams, this one written by Donna Van Horn, Co-Pastor at The Bridge Christian Church of Portland and posted to her colleagues’ blog, “Tim’s Talk“. I like this one, because it is also well written:
Dear Mayor Adams,
I write with a heavy heart this morning, as I reflect on the actions taken by the Portland police dept on Sunday in particular.
As a Pastor at a local church, The Bridge, serving as an Occupy Chaplain, I have had much time the last few weeks to observe and talk to not only the Occupiers, the homeless who found a home, but the police who patrolled the camp. In that time I have not seen anything but an honest attempt to try and make the best of an awkward situation. Saturday afternoon, as we cleaned up the Sacred Space area I was reminded by officers and by strangers on the street, that we all are part of the 99%.
Saturday night, I was nervous that some knucklehead itching for a fight would spark a riot. Instead, the knucklehead who did show up was quickly vomited from the crowd with chants that “we are nonviolent.” There was no riot. I am convinced in my heart that both sides in this standoff on Saturday wanted the same thing… peace.
Sunday is a different story, and I hope at some point soon you will explain to me and others in the city who are concerned with what we saw as unnecessary force on the part of the Portland police department. We all witnessed the “knucklehead” get exposed from the Occupy group Sat night, will the city now do the same for the “knucklehead” who prompted the pushing, shoving and arrests on Sunday that initiated from the side of the police?
Unlike other cities dealing with Occupy camps, you Mr. Mayor had done an incredible job of building trust and showing a willingness to work with a diverse group of people. I feel that trust has been broken, and it does cause me to grieve as it seems so unnecessary.
I would ask that those who were arrested Sunday, have those arrests revoked and their records to be expunged.
This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains or The Bridge.
Donna Van Horn
Co-Pastor at The Bridge Christian Church of Portland
What do you think about all of this, especially in Portland? You can even take this Facebook poll created by The Daily Beast to share your thoughts on Zucotti Park, here, at least while the poll is still open anyway (do the Facebook polls close? I actually have no idea). I have supported the idea of ‘the 99%’ from the beginning. I find it inspiring that so many protests have sprung up all over the world between October 3rd and November 9th. Of course some will join up because of the opportunity for violence, corruption, grandstanding, for any negatively fueled opportunity. Yet, others will join and have joined this movement because they too see an opportunity, but for something good to come from this; believing something is wrong with our individual lives and our lives as a collective society. Whether it be a group of homeless people joining an encampment of protestors for the safety it provides and the solidarity or veterans joining because they didn’t fight in a war to see their brothers and sisters die or be maimed to only return home to find they cannot find a job themselves or get the quality medical/psychological care they require and deserve.
I also find it inspiring and hopeful, especially the fact that they have not yet organized and are occupying to make their point. People must agree I see this as their way of saying the system isn’t working so they would rather not work immediately within this broken system, to attempt to ‘fix’ what has become a mountain over the many years it has been allowed to continue. I like the fact that they have many points and seek common ground through open discussion and debate. In my experience it is something many Americans and leaders in general need to learn. Yelling louder than your opponent, pounding your fists on the table to scare your opponent, or to denounce your opponent in some way is not winning a discussion, especially since true discussion should have no winner.
However, how long could the occupy part of the protest last? Some seem to be growing tired of the ‘antics’ of the protestors seemingly because they seem to be protesting and occupying simply for the sake of it because they are not organized enough to state demands that may or may not be met. Is this really a bad thing though? This is a very tricky question because of the complexity of the situation. I doubt there is a simple answer, and that is what might be so troubling for many people, that the answer cannot fit nicely inside of a sound bite or a list of demands. That it requires a dialogue to begin not only at the top but, at the bottom as well, regardless of people’s interest or ability (or lack thereof) to participate in the protests themselves.
I understand that I cannot get all the facts right in one place, but it is important to gather as much as possible, I hope you help me fill in the rest of the gaps that I have missed. What should the protestors do next? I don’t think going home is an option. I also don’t know if writing up a list of demands where officials and businesses can agree to 40-60% of a band-aid and call that a victory when larger systemic changes need to be made. I believe dialogue is the only true way forward, at least for now.
I could continue writing this all day and still not be done, so I must end here as I have work I must get to.
I think that all parts presented here make valid points and I hope the information provided inspire you to comment.
**All links are to original sources or websites.