Portland Mayor Sam Adams has given the Occupy Portland notice to leave by 12:01 am Sunday.
“Crime, especially reported assaults, has increased in the area,” Adams said. “Occupy has had a considerable time to share its movement’s message with the public but has lost control of the camps it has created.”
But authorities are concerned that protesters are gearing up for a confrontation with police.
Oregon Live reported:
Portland Police said they believe protesters in the Occupy Portland camps are soliciting out-of-state reinforcements, collecting gas masks and may be preparing weapons and shields for a confrontation early Sunday morning when police are expected to evict them from two downtown parks.
Authorities said in a press release that some of the protesters have dug a hole in one of the parks which has been reinforced with wood and they have received reports of activists hammering nails into wood as possible weapons. According to police, as many as 300 people from various locations, including Seattle, Oakland and San Francisco, are expected to join Occupy Portland at the parks with as many as 150 anarchists helping resist the eviction.
The Associated Press adds:
“If there are anarchists, if there are weapons, if there is an intention to engage in violence and confrontation, that obviously raises our concerns,” Portland police Lt. Robert King said. “But I know we’ll be able work through that and manage that, because we want to protect everyone there, especially the peaceful protester.”
Organizers of the protest, however, angrily denied the charges, claiming the police are trying to “defame” the movement by pointing out the actions of a few – a claim commonly heard from Occupy protesters.
“In all fairness, it’s possible the guys hammering nails into two-by-fours are building “wealth redistribution implements,” rather than weapons to fight the police,” John Hayward wrote at Human Events.
“Anyone that is engaging in violent resistance is doing so in direct contradiction to the values outlined by the Portland General Assembly and in doing so is by definition not representing Occupy Portland,” the group said in a statement.
The AP adds in an article at Fox News that “about 10 demonstrators from Seattle” have volunteered to join forces with the Portland activists to “stand in peaceful solidarity” with Occupy Portland.
Organizers, however, say they have not called for out-of-state reinforcements.
Instead, they are planning marches, a potluck and a concert for Saturday.
Some protesters, like Patrick Johnson, are leaving the park.
According to Johnson, who has been with the protest from the beginning, about 25 percent will defy authorities. It’s that 25 percent, he says, that has caused trouble.
“They believe that this has not been a successful occupation because nobody got shot, there have been no mace cans to the head…they’re ignorant.
This is history. There were some failures in it, but the cool thing is…we got to try,” he said.
Jeff Billings, a 57-year-old veteran, added that the purpose of the protest was to defy the government. Billings said he is moving his tent out Saturday to keep it from being damaged, but added that he would be back to stay past the 12:01 deadline. He told Oregon Live that about 100 veterans “have promised to show up at Lownsdale and Chapman squares to defy authorities.”
According to Oregon Live:
Some people have left but many are staying in the camps, both old, and young, including clusters of young men wearing bandanas who appear to be looking for a fight. One young man, who’s been living in a huge box, is fortifying the inside with plywood and plans on piling up concrete blocks on the outside. He’s not going anywhere. Same with another young man, who admitted he’s scared.
Oregon Live adds that police “took out enough stone and foundation rocks to fill a pickup truck after an Occupy Portland protester tipped off police.”
Protesters have been camped out in the parks since Oct 6.
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