In Portland last night, protesters defied a mayoral request to vacate Occupy Portland, rallying hundreds of supporters to stand down a midnight eviction order. Mainstream media reports that the crowd swelled to thousands at some points in the night. From a BtR member on the ground:
I have just returned from a 12 hour demonstration, of which 8 hours was a stand-off with the police, the police union ,and the entire city establishment. And we won on every front.
We went into tonight's march hoping to help avoid the separation of,"arrestables and unarrestables," and to shatter the liberal city establishments line that,"if people want to be arrested in nonviolent civil disobedience, we can facilitate that." Our goal was to make clear-there is no nonviolent way to forceably remove people from the park, and if you do so, we will demand that you show the city what level of violence you are willing to employ to do so.
As evening approached, I neared the park-comrades had committed that we would commitedly support the small number of folks in the encampment who had barricaded themselves in and those who had committed to being arrested to stop the police attack--but that we would attempt to offer ways for the masses of people coming down to participate in resisting in a manner which did not neccessitate either standing on the sidelines or guaranteeing arrest. Our tendency won the night overwhelmingly.
Nearing the park around 9pm, we felt grim and tense-a few hundred people had gathered in the parks, with some energy marching around, but largely corralled by police-forced into crosswalks, onto sidewalks, police corraling marches at stoplights. Our commitment to support those most willing to resist unflagged, but many of us felt that the City jail might be in our near future.
As eleven o'clock arrived, chants grew bolder, and the squares began to amass people. By the midnight deadline, streets had been reclaimed, thousands were in the streets and in the park, and the energy and boldness of the crowd meant that those who were committed to symbolic arrests had been swept into a crowd which was on its feet, facing down the riot police who were mustering to sweep the park. By the midnight deadline to leave the parks , the police were lined out of the park, and across multiple defensive lines, a simultaneous countdown began! At zero, the crowd burst into loud cheers. Within hours, more streets were claimed, and the riot police were backing away from the crowd's defensive lines, steps at a time.
In Chicago, teams of people are performing on public transit to connect the experiences of working class communities with Occupy Chicago.
For those of you with Facebook, here is a video from a recent Occupy Springfield rally in Springfield, Mass.