Cops bring out the shotguns... because of puppetsby Sun Burns
On June 1st, an Art and Revolution parade marched through the streets of Portland. Inspired by the End Corporate Dominance Conference that weekend, the parade was a diverse group of activists carrying flags, puppets, costumes, musical instruments, and an anti-corporate message into the streets.
Beginning at Waterfront Park, the procession wound through the Rose Festival Fun Center. Event security asked the paraders to cease drumming while at the Festival, which they did.
In the streets, the paraders chanted about sweat shops as they passed the Gap, and moved onward to Niketown, making lots of noise in front of the guards well-accustomed to protest.
Although the peaceful march had not been holding up traffic, the police ordered the procession to walk on the sidewalk as it approached Pioneer Courthouse Square.
At Pioneer Square, a few speeches were made, including one by Assante Riverwind, dressed as a tree spirit. Once again, the paraders complied with security's requests to limit the noise. After leaving the Square, the parade moved to the Bus Mall. Though traffic was not being blocked, police began physically shoving people onto the sidewalk. As he tried to cross the street to avoid trouble, Assante was the first arrested. Thrown against a wall, and dragged into the police car, it is likely he was (inappropriately) selected as a "leader" after his speech, and unfairly targeted for arrest.
Another parader was arrested as he tried to maneuver a shopping cart/musical instrument onto the curb. Police later arrested the cart.
One woman, who has not been identified as a member of the group, was arrested for being on the sidewalk. They also arrested a photographer who was told to get off the sidewalk by one officer and to get out of the street by another officer. Although she was released without a charge, this indicates the police were going after people simply documenting the events, but perceived to be "with them."
Police grabbed and twice attempted to arrest a reporter from KBOO radio, saying his press credentials didn't matter.
The procession then went to the Forest Service Headquarters. After participating in a closing circle, one more person was arrested as he left.
There were at least 25 police officers assigned to deal with "the situation," with 10 police cars and a police van, as well as horses and bikes. The cops were ready with pepper spray and modified 12 gauge shotguns which shoot bags of lead pellets. The police effectively closed the street and blocked traffic for a small parade which would have passed quickly.
So lets see...five people were arrested because of puppets. At least four people are charged with Disorderly Conduct, because of puppets. Ten cop cars prepared for riots, because of puppets. Shotguns, because of puppets. The Man is obviously threatened by our puppets. The Revolution needs more puppets.
Art and Revolution plans more art and revolution in Portland, and will not be stopped by the Police Department's excessive tactics.
For more information, contact Art and Revolution through Misha at 235-9262.
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