Filed under: Action, Incarceration, Northwest, Political Prisoners, White Supremacy
— Ophelia PGlasser #Bernie2020 (@OpheliaPG) September 10, 2016
On September 9th protesters met at 2pm at Chapman Square in Portland Oregon to stand in solidarity with striking prisoners across the country and the world!
Portland answered the call for solidarity demonstrations to assist prisoner’s struggle to end prison profiteering, prison slavery, white supremacy and the prison society!
The event was organized by a broad coalition of groups featuring The Portland Anarchist Black Cross, Black Lives Matter PDX, The All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party, Black Rose Anarchist Federation PDX, Enlace, Portland Prison Divestment Coalition, Oregon Jericho, The Jericho Movement, Incarcerated Worker Organizing Committee (IWOC), Northwest Alliance for Alternative Media and Education, American Friends Service Committee, Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) PDX, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective.
Prior to the events commencement participants reported heavily armed and armored riot police patrolling the area and intimidating community members with their militarized and heavily armed presence.
— Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) September 10, 2016
The event began with a teach-in at Chapman Square where groups shared their organizations work and discussed the history of genocide, slavery and white supremacy as its directly linked to the prison industrial complex. Groups encouraged participants to join an organization to begin struggling against these ongoing legacies and to stand with prisoners taking risks for a better world without prisons today.
During this time the police took the initiative to confiscate several “threatening” banners in the name “officer safety” wherein they also made one arrest.
Around 3pm the march set off with a chants of, “Brick by brick wall by wall, we will make the prisons fall!” and “What is our mission! Abolition!,” backed up by a mobile sound system that set a high energy level. Over 300 people hit the streets then proceeded down 6th st.
When the march reached the McDonald’s off of the Max Line by PSU marchers were immediately greeted with a line of riot police. Demonstrators linked arm in arm as a police attack seemed eminent. Some demonstrators donned masks to provide anonymity to counteract police surveillance tactics wherein protesters are identified and documented to be targeted for police reprisals and political repression. The marchers then swiftly navigated around the riot cop wall. Amid rocks and threats allegedly being thrown at the police, potentially in response to their intimidation tactics and earlier unwarranted kidnapping of a community member.
The march then went down Broadway St where they were greeted by comrades who had initiated a soft blockade in-front of the McDonald’s off of 6th and Main. There community members held the streets for over an hour. While speeches and political theater about prison profiteering at the hands of McDonald’s were made.
Members of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party and Marilyn Buck Abolitionist collective distributed over 150 free lunches as a healthy alternative for folks looking to get food at McDonald’s. It was explained that McDonald’s uses prison labor to manufacture their uniforms and other items.
While the sit-in continued the demonstrators began being accosted by a group of vocal right-wing agitations. Two community members were assaulted at knife point by a screaming white male who had been trolling the rally with a group of self-described “Trumpers.”
— Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) September 9, 2016
Participants were able to de-escalate the situation and remove the threat, of course without the need of police intervention. Along with this group of agitators was a likely white supremacist with a blazing confederate flag tattoo video taping and trolling the rally.
At 5pm the march then continued onto AT & T where community members occupied the building in solidarity with the Sept. 9th call to action. AT & T has used prison labor to staff its call centers ever since it fired thousands of unionized call center employees in 1993. Informational leaflets were passed out to onlookers and the store was essentially closed for business.
At approximately 5:45 a large line of riot police appeared and began threatening to attack community members demonstrating at the AT &T store.
The march then returned to Chapman square where a noise demonstration proceeded for over an hour. Across from Chapman square is the Justice Center where several hundred prisoners are held captive by the state at any time. Loud and exuberant chants of “All Cops are Bastards” and “End Prison Slavery” where made audible by all those locked up inside. Folks also began blasting anti-police and prison music for all those locked up to enjoy with a mobile sound system and a street dance party ensured.
— Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) September 9, 2016
A police car was tagged with a circle A and several community members began dancing on top of a police vehicle while a cop was sitting inside, sending a message that their state terrorism and violent tactics would not scare people into silence and submission.
A line of riot cops then emerged and pushed the crowd back on to the sidewalk
The police then pulled back half of their numbers.
The police then began coaxing protesters by repeatedly announcing over their loud speakers “thank you for doing as ordered,” in a scoffing tone, amid threats of arresting anyone who stepped into the streets. Several brave folks arm and arm then stepped into the streets in defiance.
Immediately a large police truck with over a dozen riot officers whipped around the corner and began violently attacking the march, pushing people over a chain link fence between the sidewalk and Chapman square, pepper spraying several and kidnapping two more who were later released. Despite the repression folks remained in the square for several hours making noise and raising a ruckus for all those locked down across the world until deciding to leave around 8pm.