Police: Portland police arrest 3 in May Day protest deemed a riot

May Day protesters march through downtown Portland, May 1, 2017. (KOIN)
May Day protesters march through downtown Portland, May 1, 2017. (KOIN)


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/AP) — Smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails, and other items were thrown at police Monday afternoon in Portland, Oregon during May Day protests which police said turned into a riot.

Portland police said officers had arrested three people near Pioneer Square after a protest permit had been canceled “due to actions of anarchists.” Police say anarchists destroyed a police car, set several fires in the street, damaged windows and attacked police.

All participants were encouraged by police to leave or risk arrest.

In Portland, several dozen people dressed entirely in black and wearing black bandanas and ski masks on their faces stood around the fringes of the Monday gathering at Shemanski Park holding signs that read “Radicals for Science!” and “No cuts! Tax the rich!” as police officers looked on.

No injuries were immediately reported.

Portland and Salem were among dozens of U.S. cities holding rallies and marches on May Day to protest the treatment of workers and President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

Also at Shemanski Park, participants at around 3 p.m. began marching and chanted, “hey hey, ho ho, deportations have got to go,” as they moved through downtown streets.

Although marchers stayed on the planned route, TriMet said service was affected.

A window in the Federal Building was broken as marchers passed by.


By 4:15 p.m., police warned families to leave the event due to anarchists who reportedly committed acts of violence. On Twitter, Portland Police Bureau said people threw items like rocks, lead balls and full cans of Pepsi at authorities.
Minutes later, police said the event’s permit had been canceled “due to numerous incidents of thrown projectiles, incendiary devices, and other unsafe conditions.”
“Anyone remaining in streets may be subject to arrest,” police said.

Several large stores downtown had already stationed private security guards at their doors and a Starbucks along one of the anticipated march routes closed at 1 p.m. in case of violent protests.

Several hundred people, many of them immigrants, gathered for a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol. Speakers in Salem, Oregon, said they would not be intimidated by any crackdowns on immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. One protester carried a sign saying bridges should be built instead of walls, referring to President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also appeared. The Democratic governor said that as long as she’s in office, Oregon will be welcoming and inclusive to all those who call the state home.

Meanwhile, officers reportedly blocked off the eastbound entrance to the Morrison Bridge as marchers got closer. The bridge was expected to be closed in both directions.

Marco Mejia with Immigrants Rights Coalition told KOIN there were a few reasons people were planning to attend the rally.

“We want to keep building community and the second (reason) is we want to come up with our messages…and tell the world,” he said. Mejia added, “This (Trump) administration is really bad for everyone in the community.”

Another rally in Salem began at noon. This event, hosted by Causa Oregon and the Oregon School Employees Association, was held on the steps of the state capitol and included Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon as speakers.

At least 2 banks along Portland’s Woodstock Boulevard, Chase Bank and Key Bank, were vandalized at some point over the weekend when superglue was applied to ATMs. It is not completely clear if the vandalism is linked to May Day protests, although financial institutions have been May Day targets in the past.

In Seattle, hundreds of people chanting “Stand up, fight back,” hundreds of people marched through downtown Monday to support immigrants and workers on May Day.

Nationally and around the world

In many places, activists are urging people to skip work, school, and shopping to show the importance of immigrants in American communities.

While union members traditionally march on May 1 for workers’ rights in countries around the world, the day has become a rallying point for immigrants in the U.S. since massive demonstrations were held on the date in 2006 against a proposed immigration enforcement bill.

In recent years, immigrant rights protests shrank as groups diverged and shifted their focus on voter registration and lobbying. Larger crowds are expected to return this year as immigrant groups have joined with Muslim organizations, women’s advocates and others in their united opposition to Trump administration policies.

“We have never seen such an outpouring of support since we have since the election of Donald Trump,” said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

As Trump approaches his first 100 days, he has aggressively pursued immigration enforcement, including executive orders for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. The government has arrested thousands of immigrants in the country illegally and threatened to withhold funding from jurisdictions that limit cooperation between local and federal immigration authorities.

In response, local leaders have vowed to fight back and civic participation has seen a boost, including February’s “Day Without Immigrants.” The travel ban and sanctuary order were temporarily halted by legal challenges.

In addition to rallies, immigrant rights activists in communities in Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas and elsewhere are calling for strikes to show Americans the demand for immigrant labor and immigrants’ purchasing power.

“On this day, we will not go to work. We will not go to school. We will not buy anything,” said Francisca Santiago, a farmworker from Homestead, Florida.

Immigrant advocates said they hope their message will reach Trump, congressional lawmakers and the public, as well as provide a sense of unity and strength to those opposed to the administration’s policies. In spite of Trump’s avowed crackdown on illegal immigration, many said they hoped a show of strength would help persuade politicians to rethink their plans.

Tom K. Wong, a professor of political science at University of California, San Diego, said the Trump administration’s focus on immigration is generating more support for immigrant rights advocates.

“Every pivot back to the issue of immigration gives the immigrant rights movement another opportunity to make its best pitch to the public,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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