Mayor Hales: Police Will Continue to Keep Protestors from Blocking Streets
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Rally at the Justice Center on Saturday turned into a march through downtown. Ten people were arrested by police.
Following a week of protests in downtown Portland that resulted in blocked traffic and arrests, Mayor Charlie Hales said Monday that police would continue to prevent demonstrators from blocking streets and highways.
Several dozen protesters who demonstrated during the previous week went to Portland City Hall Dec. 1. At least 20 protesters filed complaints against police officers for allegedly violating their rights.
On Tuesday, demonstrators marching against the grand jury decision to exonerated Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson momentarily blocked traffic an Interstate 5/ Interstate 84 ramp
as well as traffic on the Burnside and Morrison bridges.
“Walking onto an interstate highway with cars traveling at a high rate of speed is both foolish and dangerous,” Hales said in a statement to the press. “ It’s dangerous for protesters, but it’s dangerous for drivers, too.”
Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at a demonstration outside the Portland Justice Center Saturday that was followed by a march through downtown followed. Police disbursed demonstrators with ‘flash bang’ grenades and took seven people to jail and cited three
Hales said Monday that he supported residents' right to demonstrate, but blocking traffic and transit was unfair to low-income residents.
“If you’re a parent making $15 per hour and your day care charges an extra $1 for every minute you’re late, then a demonstration that blocks a bus or train or a highway has real consequences in your life,” Hales stated. “Waiting an extra light cycle or two for a parade to pass is a reasonable price to pay for living in a free Democracy. Demonstrations that disrupt the transit system for a large number of Portlanders cross the line of fairness for all.”
Hales said that protests in Portland happen almost every week and added that the city has to weigh the public’s safety with the public’s right to assemble.
The city would continue to prioritize public safety, preventing vandalism and keeping the flow of traffic and transit moving, Hales stated.
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