Occupy Portland in standoff with police as other cities make arrests
As many as 200 anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland, Ore., headed for a showdown with police early Sunday after ignoring orders to abandon a city park encampment, and authorities elsewhere arrested nearly two dozen people as cities stepped up pressure against the demonstrators.
“We’re going to sit-in and force them to arrest us,” Jordan LeDoux, an Occupy Portland spokesman, said Saturday evening.
In Salt Lake City, police arrested 19 people Saturday when protesters refused to leave a park a day after a man was found dead inside his tent at the encampment. Police said he died of drug use and carbon monoxide.
About 150 people had been living in the camp for weeks, and police had ordered them to leave by the end of the day.
Authorities in Denver forced protesters to leave a downtown encampment and arrested four people for interfering with officers who removed illegally pitched tents, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.
Jackson said police had advised protesters since Wednesday that their tents in Civic Center Park and on a nearby sidewalk were illegal.
In San Francisco, two officers were injured Saturday afternoon during a march by demonstrators, police said. One was slashed in the hand with a razor blade and the other sustained a cut on his cheek during separate incidents around 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of the Embarcadero and Broadway. They were treated and released at the scene, according to police spokesman Carlos Manfredi.
The Occupy Oakland encampment appeared quiet Saturday night, despite speculation from many that police might move in to clear tents and protesters after issuing two eviction notices in two days warning campers that "your continued use of city property or parks for overnight lodging will subject you to arrest."
Oakland police said Saturday evening that they had not made any move to clear the campers, who have been in the plaza in front of City Hall since Oct. 10. The encampment drew international attention late last month when police razed it. Violence erupted, and police later lobbed tear gas into the crowd.
In Portland, Mayor Sam Adams ordered Thursday that the demonstrators vacate the parks by midnight Saturday, arguing that the encampment had become dangerous, a health hazard and a haven for criminals. If protesters didn't leave, he warned, they would be arrested. Some were dismantling tents and leaving Saturday, but dozens of tents remained after midnight.
“We’re going to have a significant number of people arrested if they come through and start arresting people,” LeDoux said.
Demonstrators rallied Saturday evening as organizers said they hope radical elements don't use violence to overshadow the movement's message of peaceful resistance to income inequality and what they see as corporate greed.
But police prepared for a possible clash, warning that dozens of anarchists may be planning a confrontation.
--Times Staff and Wire Reports
Photo: Protesters near the Occupy Portland camp on Saturday. Credit: Natalie Behring / Getty Images