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"We Are Not the Enemy!"

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  • Dan Clore
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo We Are Not The Enemy! - The Battle of Portland by William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t |
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      "We Are Not The Enemy!" - The Battle of Portland

      by William Rivers Pitt

      t r u t h o u t | Report

      Saturday, 24 August, 2002

      The image is chilling. A middle-aged woman, plainly dressed,
      with a puff of auburn hair, is clutched in a hammer-lock by
      a Portland police officer dressed in full riot gear. His
      riot baton is jammed high under her chin. Around her, three
      more armor-clad police officers swarm in, face-masks down.
      The woman's face is contorted in terror. In her hand is a
      sign protesting George W. Bush.

      This was the scene on the streets of Portland, OR, on the
      evening of August 22nd as captured by a photographer for the
      Associated Press. Thousands of peaceful protesters had
      descended upon the Hilton Hotel where Mr. Bush was attending
      a political fundraiser for Senator Gordon Smith. They held
      signs reading, "Drop Bush, not Bombs," and other similar
      slogans. Among the protesters were pregnant women, parents
      with infants and small children, elderly citizens, and
      citizens in wheelchairs.

      According to a report by CBS News, the protest became unruly
      when some of the fundraiser attendees were "jostled" as they
      moved through the crowd towards the entrance to the hotel.
      At that point, the riot police swarmed in, swinging clubs
      and dousing the crowd with pepper spray. Rubber bullets were
      also fired into the crowd, and snipers were seen on the
      roofs surrounding the scene. The protesters responded by
      hammering on the hoods of police cars and screaming, "We are
      not the enemy!"

      A man named Randy, who attended the protest, reports the
      sequence of events as follows:

      "I was between 5th and 6th on the sidewalk. Maybe the ones
      in front were warned to move, but I didn't hear any warning.
      It had been a peaceful protest. Suddenly the police came
      forward spraying pepper spray. A man nearby with an infant
      in a backpack got hit real good. The baby's face was so red
      I thought it had quit breathing. From the other direction
      came cop cars through the crowd and rubber bullets were
      fired at those closest to the cars. I kept retreating but
      the cops kept spraying. Lots of people were sprayed,
      including the cameraman from Channel 2 KATU."

      Other eyewitness accounts from the streets of Portland
      similarly describe what appears to have been a terrifyingly
      violent response from the police to a peaceful protest by
      assembled American citizens.

      This is a profoundly disturbing turn of events. Mr. Bush is
      protested wherever he goes these days, and the crowds which
      attend them are growing. These are not black-clad anarchists
      kicking in windows, however. The woman who was attacked by
      the police looked as ordinary as any small-town librarian,
      and anarchists are smart enough to leave their children at
      home if there is a riot in the offing. The streets of
      Portland were filled on August 22nd by average American
      citizens seeking to inform the President of their disfavor
      regarding the manner in which he is governing their country.
      They were rewarded with the business end of a billy club, a
      face-full of pepper spray, and the jarring impact of a
      rubber bullet.

      If America needed one more example of the cancer that has
      been chewing through the guts of our most basic freedoms
      since Mr. Bush assumed office, they can look to Portland.
      The right to freely assemble and petition the government for
      a redress of grievances has been rescinded at the point of a

      The imperative is clear. Such violence by the authorities
      cannot go unchallenged. The next time Mr. Bush appears in
      public, there must be even more concerned Americans to greet
      him. They must face the baton and the pepper spray, they
      must stare into the shielded faces of the police, and they
      must stand in non-violent disobedience of the idea that they
      are not allowed to be there. The men and women who faced the
      brunt of police fury in Portland are to be lauded as
      American patriots, and their actions must be duplicated by
      us all. The groups which organized this protest, and the
      ones to come, deserve our praise.

      The media, which spent much of the evening reporting that
      only a few hundred protesters were in attendance, must be
      browbeaten into reporting the facts from both sides - from
      the police, who reportedly detained people like the woman in
      the picture "for their own safety," and from the protesters
      who took a savage beating for daring to stand against Mr.
      Bush. If the battle of Portland is allowed to cast even more
      fear into the hearts and minds of Americans, we have lost
      yet another swath of freedoms. Stand and be counted if you

      The whole world is watching.


      William Rivers Pitt is a teacher from Boston, MA. His new
      book, 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence,' will be published
      soon by Pluto Press.

      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      All my fiction through 2001 and more. Intro by S.T. Joshi.

      Lord We├┐rdgliffe and Necronomicon Page:
      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      Said Smygo, the iconoclast of Zothique: "Bear a hammer with
      thee always, and break down any terminus on which is
      written: 'So far shalt thou pass, but no further go.'"
      --Clark Ashton Smith
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