PBS Newshour report on Occupy Portland
A two month old peaceful protest involving thousands of people in hundreds of cities is, according to the police in Portland, Oregon, about to get dangerous along the lines of a scenario from a 1960s knockabout farce. This is due to happen at exactly the same time as the Portland police have decided to expel the Occupy Portland demonstrators from their encampment. Reuters reports:
Tensions were rising at anti-Wall Street protests in three western U.S. cities on Friday as demonstrators in Portland, Salt Lake City and Oakland defied orders by police to dismantle their camps.
In Portland, police said they had received reports that protesters were digging a reinforced hole and fashioning make-shift weapons out of wood and nails after Mayor Sam Adams gave them until midnight on Saturday to clear out of two downtown parks.
Police said they believed Occupy Portland organizers had also put out a call for reinforcements from Oakland, Seattle and San Francisco as they prepared for a confrontation.
“There may even be as many as 150 anarchists who will arrive soon,” Portland police said in a written statement.
“There is information that people may be in the trees during a police action and that there are people who are attempting to obtain a large number of gas masks,” the statement said.
Occupy Portland organizers, who say their encampment numbers between 500 and 800 people, denied that they were making weapons or recruiting anarchists for a pitched battle and insisted that they were a nonviolent movement.