[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #10 under stay-at-home orders, pre-"riot"

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat May 30 18:03:02 EDT 2020

PJW supporters

Last night we held the tenth Friday rally since the stay at home order was 
issued in Oregon. There were five of us there and we all had face 
coverings. I'm going to start at the end and loop back: rather than march 
back to the Square at the end, we decided to head over to the Justice 
Center (Central Precinct) to show solidarity with the people who had been 
peacefully occupying the 3rd Avenue side for about two days. They were 
welcoming and glad to see us. They had set up monitors to direct traffic 
around their occupation. We arrived at about 5:45 and only stayed about 10 
minutes. The actions that unfolded last night with vandalism, looting and 
police violence happened five hours later.

The start of the rally at 5 PM saw the five of us receiving many thumbs up 
and honking horns, which we also heard along the route. One heckler yelled 
something unintelligible out his car window as he drove by the Square, 
that is the only one I remember hearing.

While the Iraq Affinity Group is the project group at PJW leading these 
rallies, I brought with me a sign from Portland Copwatch reading "Justice 
/ Police Accountability." We also had the usual signs about no war with 
Iran, US Out of Iraq, etc. One man paused and pointed to each sign and 
said "agree, agree, agree," then gave the thumbs up and left. Another man 
expressed concern about US policy in Iran and asked for contact 
information but did not take a fact sheet, I'm not sure why.

We kicked off the announcements by talking about the death of George Floyd 
and how it has awakened people once again to the unequal application of 
the law and police violence.

We also noted that the US continues to provoke China, not only through its 
accusations about the coronavirus but by military incursions into disputed 
areas in the South China Sea. Here is the latest one:


Also, the shipment of gasoline to Venezuela included refinery parts so 
that Venezuela could get back on the road to producing its own petrol.


As to the events late last night, which included people breaking into and 
setting a small fire at the Justice Center, then setting other fires and 
breaking windows at various businesses while under attack from "riot 
police," I've seen this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote going around:

'A riot is the language of the unheard'

I have been surprised by the newscasters and police and electeds/ 
candidates empathising with those upset about George Floyd's death. Even 
the President of the Portland Police Association, Daryl Turner, put out a 
statement condemning the Minneapolis police:


He also promised this would not happen in Portland. Presumably he means 
"any more"? We need to hold him to that.

While we at PJW continue to emphasize the need for nonviolent conflict 
resolution, we must not let the debate about "good-protestor/ 
bad-protestor" dynamics obscure the underlying institutional problems that 
both peaceful and not-as-peaceful people are trying to address. Those who 
only focus on violent actions by some Palestinians while ignoring the 
oppression by the Israeli government fall into that same trap.

Anyway, we'll be talking at the IAG meeting on June 8 about whether to 
expand past our 6 person limit if Multnomah County "opens up" mid-June as 
is being reported. Meanwhile, we are continuing to keep this a 
limited-attendance event to ensure a safe event.


--dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works
     Iraq Affinity Group
     PO Box 42456
     Portland, OR   97242
     (503) 236-3065
     iraq at pjw.info
     Donate on line: http://www.pjw.info/pjwdonate.html

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