Portland Assembly Statement on May Day 2017
Once again the Portland Police Department has decided to reinforce a false, politically motivated narrative. The PPD has intensified its toxic, militaristic propaganda efforts, along with physical intimidation and excessive force, since the November elections.
We strongly condemn this mode of terror against unarmed civilians—including children and the disabled and risking their physical well-being—by releasing poison gases which you refer to as “riot control agents” in the effort to sanitize the perception of your barbaric behavior. Mothers and small children, who were frightened by riot police, along with elderly and disabled people using canes for support, had a hard time outrunning clouds of burning vapors.
Portland Assembly, a proud member of the Mayday Coalition, stands with the coalition’s statement. We agree that “the PPB attacked a permitted march whose only goal was to keep moving along its planned route because some noisemakers and name-calling were enough of an excuse for them to use their large surplus of explosives and chemical weapons against those who had committed to rise, resist, and unite, against fascism and capitalism.”
Anarchists didn’t “hijack” the permitted march. What clearly happened AGAIN is the PPD was determined to pit large swaths of the movement against one another so that nobody questions the legitimacy of the Wheeler administration’s authority. By feeding into the “good protestor” vs. “bad protestor” myth the PPD attempts to sow discord among organizers who have the people power to advocate for their communities’ best interests. But we are onto these tricks.
The only people responsible for police violence are the police perpetrators themselves, along with their corporately controlled masters, Marshman and Wheeler.
With popular representation in our city at another low point—with Ted Wheeler’s power grab of all city bureaus—it’s clearer than ever that the pressing need is to build power at the neighborhood level.
We cannot rely on politicians to represent us or “serve and protect” us. They are the same force responsible for killing of Black and brown teenagers and criminalizing houseless Portlanders. Police violence toward HUMAN BEINGS is vastly more damaging than some insured windows being broken.
Ted Wheeler played his part as a loyal member of the Portland elite when he blamed the victims of his PPD’s attacks, saying that protestors’ “…only desire is to damage people…“ The *POLICE* were the ones spraying chemical agents at Portlanders exercising their right to free speech—not anarchists.
The Portland Police’s actions, along with the Portland city government’s complicity in its brutality, speak volumes about the priorities and interests of both. Portland Assembly condemns this lack of humanity and demand that Portlanders represent their own communities directly.