Friday rally marks Portland’s latest success in protesting Bush’s criminal administration, blames occupations for attacks on UN, Palestinians and Israelis

Event: PPRC Rally and March for Peace
Date: Friday, August 22nd, 2003
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square

The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition Friday 5:00 p.m. rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square will focus on the achievements of yesterday’s thousands of protesters who challenged Bush and his crony-capitalist supporters at the University of Portland. "The organizers of yesterday’s protest against Bush, and all those who came out in spite of the threats and intimidation of the Portland Police Bureau, demonstrated the massive opposition to Bush’s criminal policies," said Will Seaman, a PPRC volunteer. "The police, to their credit, backed off their threats to arrest anybody who marched in the street, but it was the people who were protesting Bush’s criminal policies who deserve credit for the success of yesterday’s demonstrations."

Seaman emphasized that the PPRC’s only role in yesterday’s demonstrations was to inform the community about the protest and to encourage people to come out. "This was a truly grassroots, independent organizing effort here in Portland, and it was a great success, "said Seaman. "The only violence that we saw yesterday was a very poorly communicated, and then brutally enforced, order to disperse, and an hysterical police action at N. Lombard and N. Woolsey in response to nonviolent civil disobedience at that intersection."

"And we are bitterly disappointed with the local commercial television news coverage of the protests," said Mikel Clayhold, another PPRC volunteer. "Where were the images of the more than three thousand protestors, and where was the coverage of the issues that brought them out in such large numbers in the face of hundreds of riot police?" Clayhold noted that equal coverage was given to a tiny number of demonstrators who had signs in support of Bush. "And why wasn’t there acknowledgement of the role of the protest community for pulling together such a powerful, peaceful _expression of mass dissent from the policies of Bush’s rogue terror regime?"

Clayhold took special exception to television news stories reporting that the lack of conflict between police and protesters was due to the heavy-handed security measures by police. "It was precisely the opposite," said Clayhold, "it was the fact that the police wisely decided not to adopt the aggressive police tactics of last year’s Bush visit that resulted in this protest going forward peacefully."

The Friday rally and march will also focus on the tragic events in Iraq and Israel/Palestine over the past week. "The world today is again grieving for families who lost loved ones in the terror attacks of this past week," said Seaman. "This violence is bound up with the underlying injustices that trace back to the White House, and until we change that regime we can be sure this senseless cycle of attack and retribution will continue."

Seaman said that the breakdown in the Israel/Palestine negotiations was due primarily to the ongoing Israeli policy of "targeted assassinations". "While Hamas and Islamic Jihad were committed to a cease fire, the Israeli military was pressing forward with its policy of extra-judicial killings of Palestinians that they identified, without trial and any judicial review, as ‘terrorists’," said Seaman. "And now that these groups have responded to these assassinations, with the predictable horrible crimes against civilians, we are shown once again that the solution to this conflict cannot be found in the barrel of a gun, or the rocket launchers of a helicopter gunship."

Seaman said that the attack on the UN buildings in Iraq shared the same root cause. "The violence in Israel/Palestine and the attacks in Iraq come down to the same thing," said Seaman. "The way to put an end to these attacks is to put an end to the illegal military occupations that constitute the underlying injustice that is propelling the violence. Israel must leave the West Bank and Gaza, and the US must bring our young men and women home now, and must end our illegal occupation of Iraq."

Some protestors from the Friday rally will proceed to join a Jobs with Justice action taking place at the South Park Blocks at 6:30 p.m.. For more information regarding this later action, please call Jobs with Justice at (503) 236-5573.


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