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Occupy Portland Protesters Face Showdown With Police Over Eviction Order

Occupy Portland

First Posted: 11/13/11 08:25 AM ET Updated: 11/14/11 11:21 PM ET

By JONATHAN J. COOPER and TERRENCE PETTY, The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Several hundred protesters, some wearing goggles and gas masks, marched past authorities in a downtown street Sunday, hours after riot police forced Occupy Portland demonstrators out of a pair of weeks-old encampments in nearby parks.

Police moved in shortly before noon and drove protesters into the street after dozens remained in the camp in defiance city officials. Mayor Sam Adams had ordered that the camp shut down Saturday at midnight, citing unhealthy conditions and the encampment's attraction of drug users and thieves.

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More than 50 protesters were arrested in the police action, but officers did not use tear gas, rubber bullets or other so-called non-lethal weapons, police said.

After the police raid, the number of demonstrators swelled throughout the afternoon. By early evening, dozens of officers brandishing nightsticks stood shoulder-to-shoulder to hold the protesters back. Authorities retreated and protesters broke the standoff by marching through the streets.

Demonstrators regrouped several blocks away, where they broke into small groups to discuss their future. Some advocated occupying foreclosed homes, others wanted to move onto the Portland State University campus or to the shores of the Willamette River.

In the hours after the midnight eviction deadline, the anti-Wall Street protesters and their supporters had flooded the park area even as authorities in other cities across the nation stepped up pressure against demonstrators, arresting dozens of people.

At one point overnight, the Portland crowd swelled to thousands. As dawn arrived, riot police had retreated and most of the crowds had gone home, but protesters who have been at the two parks since Oct. 6 were still there, prompting one organizer to declare the night a victory for the movement.

"We stood up to state power," Jim Oliver told The Associated Press.

It didn't last. Police moved in later as demonstrators held a midday "general assembly" meeting to discuss their next moves. An officer on a loudspeaker warned that anyone who resisted risked arrest and "may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons." Demonstrators chanted "we are a peaceful protest."

"We were talking about what we were going to do and then they just started hitting people. Seems like a waste of resources to me," protester Mike Swain, 27, told the AP.

One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.

Choya Adkison, 30, said police moved in after giving demonstrators a false sense of calm. They thought they had time to rest, relax and regroup, she said

"Camp was completely vulnerable, completely defenseless" when police moved in, she said. "I'm disappointed that they created a sense of trust by walking away and then completely trampled it."

City officials erected temporary chain-link fences with barbed wire at the top around three adjacent downtown parks, choking off access for demonstrators as parks officials cleaned up.

Police Chief Mike Reese told KGW-TV it was his plan to take the parks in a peaceful manner and that's what happened.

"Our officers have performed exceptionally well," he said.

Even ahead of the police raid, the camp was a shadow of what it had been before Saturday. A large segment of campers were homeless people drawn to the free food and shelter offered by Occupy Portland. They are gone, after outreach workers went through the camp to help them find shelter elsewhere.

And as the Saturday midnight eviction deadline neared, protesters themselves began dismantling tents.

Around 4 a.m., dozens of police formed a line across from demonstrators who had poured into the street. Protesters facing them appeared to be in festive spirits with some banging on drums and plastic pails, another clanging a cowbell while others danced in the streets as a man juggled nearby.

On Sunday at an impromptu news conference, the mayor defended his order to clear the park, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. "This is not a game," Adams said.

Officials said that one officer suffered minor injuries when he was hit by some kind of projectile in the leg. Police had prepared for a possible clash, warning that dozens of anarchists may be planning a confrontation with authorities. Officers seized pieces of cement blocks Friday, saying they were told some demonstrators had plans to use them as weapons against police. They said they believe some demonstrators were building shields and trying to collect gas masks.

And police seized incendiary devices, gas masks and marijuana on Sunday after stopping three men for speeding on Interstate 5 south of Portland. The men told police they had left Occupy Portland an hour earlier and were carrying the equipment in anticipation of a confrontation with authorities, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Meanwhile in Oakland, Calif., friends confirmed Sunday that Scott Olsen, the Iraq War veteran who suffered a serious head injury during a police raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment, has been released from the hospital. Olsen suffered a skull fracture during tear-gas filled clashes between police and demonstrators on Oct. 25.

Dottie Guy of Iraq Veterans Against the War said Sunday Olsen was released last week. He can now read and write, but still has trouble talking, she added.

"Considering what happened to him he's doing well," Guy said. "He does have a brain injury so there will be some kind of rehab and physical therapy needed."

Occupy Wall Street supporters nationwide have rallied around Olsen's plight.

Also Sunday, for the third time in three days, Oakland city officials warned protesters that they do not have the right to camp in the plaza in front of City Hall and face immediate arrest. Police did not respond to requests for comment on whether officers were preparing to forcibly clear the camp.

The eviction notices come as officials across the country urged an end to similar gatherings in the wake of three deaths in different cities, including two by gunfire. Demands for Oakland protesters to pack up increased after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the encampment site.

Police officials have said a preliminary investigation suggested the shooting resulted from a fight between two groups of men at or near the encampment. Investigators do not know if the men in the fight were associated with Occupy Oakland, but protesters said there was no connection between the shooting and the camp.

The shooting occurred the same day a 35-year-old military veteran apparently committed suicide in a tent at a Burlington, Vt., Occupy encampment. Police said a preliminary investigation showed the veteran fatally shot himself in the head. They said the death raised questions about whether the protest would be allowed to continue.

In other cities over the weekend:

_ In Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people Saturday when protesters refused to leave a park a day after a man as found dead inside his tent at the encampment. The arrests came after police moved into the park early in the evening where protesters had been ordered to leave by the end of the day. About 150 people had been living in the camp there for weeks.

_ In Albany, N.Y., police arrested 24 Occupy Albany protesters after they defied an 11 p.m. curfew in a state-owned park. State police officials hauled away the protesters after warning them with megaphones that they were breaking the law in Lafayette Park. They were charged with trespassing.

_ In Denver, authorities forced protesters to leave a downtown encampment and arrested four people for interfering with officers who removed illegally pitched tents, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

_ In San Francisco, violence marked the protest Saturday where police said two demonstrators attacked two police officers in separate incidents during a march. Police spokesman Carlos Manfredi said a protester slashed an officer's hand with a pen knife while another protester shoved an officer, causing facial cuts. He said neither officer was seriously hurt, and the assailants couldn't be located.

___

Associated Press writers Terry Collins in Oakland, Josh Loftin in Salt Lake City, Jim Anderson in Denver and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Via HuffPost Miami:

When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.

From the Miami New Times:

The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.

"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."

...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.

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Via HuffPost DC:

WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.

Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)

The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."

Full story here.

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OWS reports via its website:

After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.

According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.

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Occupy Long Beach is defending the mother's home. For more information, click here.

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The woman had the apparent seizure has been identified by the New York Observer as Cecily McMillan:

Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.

A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.

According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.

To read the full story, go here.

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Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:

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Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:

- Show quoted text -

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The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:

At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.

By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.

Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.

To read the full story, go here.

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@ Greg_Palast : Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!

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@ macfathom : Doubling east on Barclay, and now the ragged front of the march is at City Hall. #OWS

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@ LuddoftheFuture : girl in the street having a seizure and the cops have her in handcuffs. can this get any worse (live at http://t.co/4pLyy3gP)

Activists cry out for paramedics. The woman is limp on the ground. "Come on you violent bastards where's the paramedics?"

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@ jeffrae : March is heading north up broadway #ows #occupywallstreet

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@ macfathom : Dozens of arrests, many cuffed and sitting on broadway waiting for their ride to jail. #OWS

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@ RDevro : Police are barricading the park. It's cleared. I witnessed countless violent arrests. No way to estimate numbers.

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@ troutish : Protesters being dragged out by the head at #OWS #Zucotti Park http://t.co/qomhKkrA

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Cops pulling apart human chains. There are shouts for mic checks. Now, chants start forming. "The NYPD are sweeping through," says Tim on the live stream.

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@ ANIMALNewYork : Police are moving in. It's chaos.

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@ ANIMALNewYork : NYPD just made an announcement that Brookfield has to "clean the park" and Liberty Plaza is officially "closed."

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@ OccupyWallStNYC : Bagpipers just started marching into the park bringing the party mood with them, NYPD arrested one of them, and things got real heated. #OWS

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@ JackieHRye : NYPD just "destroyed" the tent in Zuccotti Park, Occupiers call for its re-building. Marching band also going through the park. #OWS

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@ RDevro : The tent in the middle of the park continues to fill with people planning to stay the night. Lots of energy here.

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Activists ask for more room as the tent is growing, expanding.

"It looks like a floating tent." -- as Tim on his live stream.

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Owly Images

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@ OccupyWallStNYC : .@justawall is leading us in a song! "Hit the road, banks! And don't ya come back no more no more no more no more!" #OWS

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Activists have assembled make-shift, cardboard sleeping areas inside Zuccotti Park. The cardboard is joined by a large green tarp.

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@ RDevro : A tarp is going up in Zuccotti as protesters march around the park chant-dancing. #m17 http://t.co/rJfP3GF9

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More than 50 protesters were arrested in the police action, but officers did not use tear gas, rubber bullets or other so-called non-lethal weapons, police said.

After the police raid, the number of demonstrators swelled throughout the afternoon. By early evening, dozens of officers brandishing nightsticks stood shoulder-to-shoulder to hold the protesters back. Authorities retreated and protesters broke the standoff by marching through the streets.

Demonstrators regrouped several blocks away, where they broke into small groups to discuss their future. Some advocated occupying foreclosed homes, others wanted to move onto the Portland State University campus or to the shores of the Willamette River.

In the hours after the midnight eviction deadline, the anti-Wall Street protesters and their supporters had flooded the park area even as authorities in other cities across the nation stepped up pressure against demonstrators, arresting dozens of people.

At one point overnight, the Portland crowd swelled to thousands. As dawn arrived, riot police had retreated and most of the crowds had gone home, but protesters who have been at the two parks since Oct. 6 were still there, prompting one organizer to declare the night a victory for the movement.

"We stood up to state power," Jim Oliver told The Associated Press.

It didn't last. Police moved in later as demonstrators held a midday "general assembly" meeting to discuss their next moves. An officer on a loudspeaker warned that anyone who resisted risked arrest and "may also be subject to chemical agents and impact weapons." Demonstrators chanted "we are a peaceful protest."

"We were talking about what we were going to do and then they just started hitting people. Seems like a waste of resources to me," protester Mike Swain, 27, told the AP.

One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.

Choya Adkison, 30, said police moved in after giving demonstrators a false sense of calm. They thought they had time to rest, relax and regroup, she said

"Camp was completely vulnerable, completely defenseless" when police moved in, she said. "I'm disappointed that they created a sense of trust by walking away and then completely trampled it."

City officials erected temporary chain-link fences with barbed wire at the top around three adjacent downtown parks, choking off access for demonstrators as parks officials cleaned up.

Police Chief Mike Reese told KGW-TV it was his plan to take the parks in a peaceful manner and that's what happened.

"Our officers have performed exceptionally well," he said.

Even ahead of the police raid, the camp was a shadow of what it had been before Saturday. A large segment of campers were homeless people drawn to the free food and shelter offered by Occupy Portland. They are gone, after outreach workers went through the camp to help them find shelter elsewhere.

And as the Saturday midnight eviction deadline neared, protesters themselves began dismantling tents.

Around 4 a.m., dozens of police formed a line across from demonstrators who had poured into the street. Protesters facing them appeared to be in festive spirits with some banging on drums and plastic pails, another clanging a cowbell while others danced in the streets as a man juggled nearby.

On Sunday at an impromptu news conference, the mayor defended his order to clear the park, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. "This is not a game," Adams said.

Officials said that one officer suffered minor injuries when he was hit by some kind of projectile in the leg. Police had prepared for a possible clash, warning that dozens of anarchists may be planning a confrontation with authorities. Officers seized pieces of cement blocks Friday, saying they were told some demonstrators had plans to use them as weapons against police. They said they believe some demonstrators were building shields and trying to collect gas masks.

And police seized incendiary devices, gas masks and marijuana on Sunday after stopping three men for speeding on Interstate 5 south of Portland. The men told police they had left Occupy Portland an hour earlier and were carrying the equipment in anticipation of a confrontation with authorities, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Meanwhile in Oakland, Calif., friends confirmed Sunday that Scott Olsen, the Iraq War veteran who suffered a serious head injury during a police raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment, has been released from the hospital. Olsen suffered a skull fracture during tear-gas filled clashes between police and demonstrators on Oct. 25.

Dottie Guy of Iraq Veterans Against the War said Sunday Olsen was released last week. He can now read and write, but still has trouble talking, she added.

"Considering what happened to him he's doing well," Guy said. "He does have a brain injury so there will be some kind of rehab and physical therapy needed."

Occupy Wall Street supporters nationwide have rallied around Olsen's plight.

Also Sunday, for the third time in three days, Oakland city officials warned protesters that they do not have the right to camp in the plaza in front of City Hall and face immediate arrest. Police did not respond to requests for comment on whether officers were preparing to forcibly clear the camp.

The eviction notices come as officials across the country urged an end to similar gatherings in the wake of three deaths in different cities, including two by gunfire. Demands for Oakland protesters to pack up increased after a man was shot and killed Thursday near the encampment site.

Police officials have said a preliminary investigation suggested the shooting resulted from a fight between two groups of men at or near the encampment. Investigators do not know if the men in the fight were associated with Occupy Oakland, but protesters said there was no connection between the shooting and the camp.

The shooting occurred the same day a 35-year-old military veteran apparently committed suicide in a tent at a Burlington, Vt., Occupy encampment. Police said a preliminary investigation showed the veteran fatally shot himself in the head. They said the death raised questions about whether the protest would be allowed to continue.

In other cities over the weekend:

_ In Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people Saturday when protesters refused to leave a park a day after a man as found dead inside his tent at the encampment. The arrests came after police moved into the park early in the evening where protesters had been ordered to leave by the end of the day. About 150 people had been living in the camp there for weeks.

_ In Albany, N.Y., police arrested 24 Occupy Albany protesters after they defied an 11 p.m. curfew in a state-owned park. State police officials hauled away the protesters after warning them with megaphones that they were breaking the law in Lafayette Park. They were charged with trespassing.

_ In Denver, authorities forced protesters to leave a downtown encampment and arrested four people for interfering with officers who removed illegally pitched tents, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

_ In San Francisco, violence marked the protest Saturday where police said two demonstrators attacked two police officers in separate incidents during a march. Police spokesman Carlos Manfredi said a protester slashed an officer's hand with a pen knife while another protester shoved an officer, causing facial cuts. He said neither officer was seriously hurt, and the assailants couldn't be located.

___

Associated Press writers Terry Collins in Oakland, Josh Loftin in Salt Lake City, Jim Anderson in Denver and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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