Police Arrest Dozens of Occupy Portland Protesters
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested about 30 anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland early Sunday, dragging and carrying them to waiting vans, after they refused to leave a park in an affluent district.
The arrests came after protesters from the Occupy Portland movement marched to the Pearl District, with some saying they viewed its residents as part of the wealthy demographic they’re protesting.
Dozens of them gathered in Jamison Square Saturday evening to defy a midnight curfew to vacate.
As police moved in around 2 a.m. most of the protesters backed off but a core group of 27-30 sat in a circle in the park and awaited arrest.
An Associated Press photographer said most of the protesters went limp and police carried or dragged them away. There was no violence during the arrests, which took about 90 minutes.
The protesters — all appearing to be in their 20s and 30s with many were wearing Halloween-style face paint — were handcuffed before they were place in police vans and driven off.
“We are the 99 percent,” one arrestee continued to chant.
The crowd of supporters thinned out around 3:30 a.m. as the last arrests were made.
Police said they arrested more than two dozen people on charges that included criminal trespassing, interfering with a police officer, and disorderly conduct.
The showdown came in the shadow of high-rise condos in the middle of the Pearl District, with some residents watching the events from their balconies.
At a meeting earlier in the evening, about 30 Occupy Portland protesters decided they would intentionally violate the curfew and face arrest.
Shortly after midnight police on horseback, on bicycles and on foot who had been at the perimeter of the park began moving closer to the group of protesters.
The demonstrators who had decided to risk arrest were seated on the ground. They were encircled by other protesters who walked around them chanting “Whose Park? Our Park!” and “Make No Arrests.”
Police eventually pushed the supporters of those being arrested to the park perimeter.
Saturday afternoon, dozens of protesters marched through downtown, across the Willamette River and back, some of them carrying sleeping bags, saying they planned to camp out in the Pearl District park.
Some protesters said they want to camp in the Pearl District because they view its residents as part of the wealthy demographic they’re protesting.
Police have allowed the demonstrators to remain in the adjacent Chapman and Lownsdale parks since Oct. 6 despite policies outlawing camping. The parks are surrounded by office buildings, mostly for the government.
But Mayor Sam Adams said last week he would not allow the demonstrators to take over any more parks. In a letter to demonstrators, Commissioner Randy Leonard said it would be inappropriate to expand the demonstration into a neighborhood park.
“We — the entire city council — are your friends … at present,” Leonard wrote. “However, our friendship and support are now being unreasonably tested by the decision to occupy Jamison Square.”
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