Portland police are preparing for F29 demonstration

Portland police are preparing for F29 demonstration
Photo courtesy MGN Online.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Hundreds of local protesters are planning to rally and march in downtown Portland on Wednesday as part of a national Shut Down the Corporations Day of Action.

Corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are the target of the Feb. 29, 2012 national call to action (dubbed F29).

Here in Portland, a rally is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Southwest Naito Parkway and Ankeny Street, under the west side of the Burnside Bridge. A march is then planned at 1 p.m.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, a permit has not been obtained for the march and the route information has not been released.

Kari Koch with Occupy Portland told KATU News protest organizers did not apply for a permit because they do not want ALEC corporations to know they are coming.

"We do plan on disrupting business as usual, but no more so than the ALEC corporations are disrupting our everyday lives on a grand scale," said Koch. 

"We have every intention of being non-violent," Koch said. "We have no intention of engaging police in any way."

Koch said the non-violent actions will be creative, and include serving food and street theater in front of the corporations.

The police bureau issued the following news release to let folks know about what will be happening and how officers will respond:

 

On Wednesday February 29, 2012, a "Shut Down the Corporations Day of Action" is being advertised both locally and nationally. Specifically, there is a call to people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Information suggests that actions will be taken in an attempt to shut down corporations, similar to the November 17, 2011 "Occupy the Banks" protests.

"Direct action" is being called for, which could include sit-ins, strikes, blockades, boycotts, banner drops, culture jamming, and performance, according to www.shutdownthecorporations.org.

The rally is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Waterfront at Southwest Naito Parkway and Ankeny Street, under the west side of the Burnside Bridge.

The march is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. and at this time, there is no known route or schedule despite requests to provide this information. No permits have been obtained for the march. How to obtain a permit is found on the City of Portland website, http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=29979&

The Police Bureau has learned from the organizers public communications that they intend to engage in disruptions. We want to remind everyone that the Police Bureau supports peaceful free speech events. In recent marches like the "No War in Iran", the "Immigration March" and the "Postal Service March", all events had permits and demonstrators followed all laws. In those marches, the Police Bureau assisted and no arrests were made.

The Police Bureau encourages event organizers to get a permit because it helps to provide guidelines that balance the needs of the demonstrators with the needs of the entire community. These guidelines outline the route, authorizing event participants to lawfully be in the street and it is designed to ensure the safe flow of all traffic in the Downtown core. Experience has shown that working with organizers on obtaining a permit makes the event more collaborative, which increases the overall success of the event for everyone.

The Police Bureau's responsibility in marches is to balance the rights of all involved and maintain public order. Without public order everyone's civil liberties would be at risk. Our job is to assure the safety and convenience of all people as they use Downtown streets. No one group can disobey laws to promote their message at the expense of the rest of the community's right to unrestricted use of the streets of the downtown core. We know that families need to pick up their kids from school, business must be able to conduct business and everyone in the community must be able to make their way safely throughout the city.

The Portland Police Bureau is committed to vigorously pursuing the goal of supporting participants to express their view which is their free speech right and we also support the needs of our community to move safely and without disruption through the city.

The Portland Police Bureau will be at this march and will take all appropriate action necessary to balance the rights of all involved, ensure everyone follows all laws and will take all necessary steps to ensure that this is a safe and peaceful event for all.

The Portland Police Bureau is asking that Downtown Portland businesses be aware of this event and prepare for possible disruptions. Additionally, the Police Bureau is asking for the community's patience and understanding as there may be disruptions to vehicle, pedestrian and TriMet traffic in the Downtown area during the duration of the event.

The Portland Police Bureau will continue to provide updates as they are available. The day of the event, follow @PortlandPolice on Twitter for updates and information.