Portland 'autonomous zone' plans fizzle as protests continue
The Portland Police Bureau declared a civil disturbance and engaged in lengthy clashes with downtown demonstrators during another night of protests on Saturday, June 13.
While organizers had circulated rumors that an "autonomous zone" would be established that night in several parks surrounding the Multnomah County Justice Center, those plans apparently were called off after being prematurely publicized, according to accounts on social media.
An autonomous zone, similar to the Occupy movement from earlier this decade, has been established in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, but Portland's nightly protests haven't yet morphed into permanent encampments.
#PDX #alerta #pdxalert #pdxdefense #portland #portlandprotest #pdxprotest #blmpdx PLEASE SHARE THIS AS FAR AS YOU CAN. SAVE IT AND text it to your friends. Ask them to post it too! pic.twitter.com/9KC1Z8wLga— Lilith (they/them) (@lilithxsinclair) June 14, 2020
What followed hewed to patterns set during previous nights of unrest — each night part of an uprising that began more than two weeks ago here following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in police custody. Perhaps 1,000 people gathered in Lownsdale Square, and several in the crowd used wire cutters to gain access to their area fenced off by authorities, while others perched on the double-height chain-link barrier.
That spurred orders to stop tampering with the fence — and eventual warnings of use of force. Shortly before 11 p.m., officers dressed in riot gear arrived from all sides, pushing the crowd west into downtown.
Police did not appear to deploy tear gas, but were seen unleashing smoke bombs, crowd control munitions and flash bangs while confronting smaller columns of activists. At least one arrest was made but police did not immediately specify exactly how many.
As squad cars raced up and down the city's streets, several smaller crowds clashed with officers. A group near the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall were pushed back, then advanced again, until a final charge by police scattered the demonstrators.
A Portland Tribune reporter was shoved by an officer during the charge, and was then hit in the foot with a crowd-control munition. The injuries were minor and did not require medical attention.
Portland Police charge protesters tonight.— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) June 14, 2020
Officer: I donâ€™t give a shit! Go!
I was shoved into the wall, then hit in the heel by some sort of crowd control munition. Iâ€™m fine pic.twitter.com/daPElkEb6J
Police posted several updates during the event on Twitter.
"Criminal activities including throwing food and glass bottles at officers, pointing lasers at officers' eyes, damaging the security fence, and entering the secure area between the fence and the Justice Center were being committed," police Lt. Tina Jones said in a video update. "After repeated orders to disperse were ignored, officers began to disperse the crowd."
Earlier in the night, peaceful demonstrators gathered at Revolution Hall before marching to Cleveland High School, where they later dispersed.
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