One "protester" told me he was there to be in solidarity with the people arrested during the day at the unauthorized, un-permitted melee in the streets of Portland. No, he knew no one in the lock up, but was there for solidarity against "The Man," man.
I came to see what was happening and within minutes police had announced the sidewalk surrounding the justice center was closed and we all had to move away.
The announcement was made right after a wave of protesters rushed the cops in the middle of Third Avenue.
I was so shocked by this that I walked through the crowd announcing out loud so anyone could hear, "Why did those guys storm the cops? Your guys just stormed the cops! Why did you do that?"
I was immediately seized upon by calls of "liar!" "we did not!" I, like them, stood on the side walk and watched the whole thing. Must be my lyin' eyes.
Later, via twitter, I got this:
I say "storm" the cops, you say "helping" an "old lady" with "flowers." The benefit of the doubt isn't given to people who routinely show up to break windows, set off smoke bombs and maraud like a pack of wolves frothing at the mouth for a new victim--or the next contrived confrontation with the cops.
If an "old lady" with "flowers" is in the middle of the street and being arrested, I'm pretty sure a wave of people flowing out to "help" her while she is surrounded by cops is not a wise or safe thing to do. Why was she with the cops in the first place?
That left a line of cops on one side of the street and another line of "protesters" on the other. The cops held the line and there was bountiful barking by the anarchists trying to pick a fight with the cops but they didn't materialize.
I left soon after this and stopped to chat with folks in the park previously trashed by these helpers of old ladies with flowers. I couldn't really tell how well the park is being brought back to life since much of it is still behind a fence. I hear the restoration is going well. It only cost tens of thousands of dollars. Thanks Occupiers!
My conversation with the occupiers went something like this, "Koch Brothers, wah, wah, wah; weekends; wah, wah, wah; which would you rather have child labor laws or uneducated children?; minimum wage should be higher; wah, wah, wah."
It was a spirited conversation and the guy spewing the union talking points said he'd call the radio show; but I realized trying to reason with people who haven't updated their arguments for decades and who hang out with scarf wearing cowards is probably not a good use of my time.