[pjw] REPORT BACK: Barricades but no Biden: Friday rally #134 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Oct 15 12:57:19 EDT 2022

Hello again IAG supporters

Before I give a longer report back on last night's Friday Rally for Peace and 
Justice, I need to describe what downtown was like. Several blocks around the 
Duniway Hotel where President Biden is reported to be staying were closed off 
by 2-foot plastic "barricades," with dumptrucks full of gravel closer to the 
perimeter, and police caution tape strung up to discourage pedestrians. Lots of 
police abounded, including four stationed about 10 feet away from the six 
(seven for a shot time) of us at the corner, joined for a bit by two in an SUV. 
They had no interest in our event, which is fine with me. HOWEVER, not long 
after we finished the rally, the PPB shot and wounded a man about 10 blocks 
from Pioneer Courthouse Square for allegedly brandishing a knife.


As indicated in today's subject line, we did not catch a sight of the 
President, in part because he didn't touch down until after 6 PM and in part 
because he headed right to the SEIU union hall in southeast-- so good thing we 
didn't hang out waiting for the motorcade.

We stayed masked up and distanced as we received a lot of supportive comments 
from people on the sidewalk (including one outside a bar who applauded us) and 
honks from cars. Many people asked whether we were there because of the 
President... and were amazed that we've been there every week since 2001! I'm a 
little surprised the crowd wasn't bigger, but people may have been discouraged 
by the Trimet and traffic disruptions caused by all the Presidential 

So, here's what we talked about at the rally:

--President Biden is a warmonger! Proof point #1, he changed the rules on drone 
strikes. Rather than forbid them, he changed them back from Trump's wide 
latitude rules to Obama's requiring Presidential authorization outside active 
war zones. Side note: His declaration says that Iraq and Syria are active war 
zones. Huh, I thought the US ended its war in Iraq in 2011... 2017... and 2020, 
and I don' recall war being declared on Syria.


--Biden refuses to meet with Russian President Putin to de-escalate the Ukraine 
situation, only if it's to talk about releasing Americans.


---In a related note, the US flatly says it is not nudging Ukraine to negotiate 
an end to the war.


--The US also is explicitly saying the Iran nuclear deal is not a current 
"focus." What they mean by that is they want to piggyback on the people's 
righteous anger about a woman who was killed for violating dress codes to 
undermine Iran's government. You can do both, you know-- support human rights 
AND negotiate a nuclear free future!


--Meanwhile, under the President's new rules a US drone strike in Syria killed 
an "ISIS member"


--The President also hasn't stopped calling for the extradition of Julian 
Assange, who revealed many US war crimes. Over the weekend, worldwide protests 
took place including people encircling the Parliament building in the UK.


--And in a headline that's not related directly to the President (maybe?), the 
National Guard is losing 7500 people a year; that's good since they're being 
mis-used to be sent into undeclared war zones.


In local news (reminder again that the shooting listed above happened AFTER the 
rally), the Portland Police rewrote their crowd control policies. After the 
riot squad known as the Rapid Response Team all quit last year when one of 
their members was indicted for on duty use of force, they have renamed the 
squad the "Public Order Unit" or "POU." Don't you think they should have put 
more thought into that? This proposed change was supposed to wait for a report 
from consultants who are examining what happened at the 2020 protests. They 
held a community forum on Wednesday, so their report is nowhere near done.


Along the march route, I gave news that is an update from earlier this year: 
there are now 800 Palestinians in detention without charge in Israel, the most 
in 15 years. [I fact checked this: In April when this was part of the rally 
report, that number was just under 600.]


We were unable to turn the corner at 4th and Yamhill due to the police 
presence, so as we disbanded there I noted that the Senate has started planning 
for the 2023 defense budget, proposing $817 billion, rather than fixing the 
planet or providing housing and other human needs. Sheesh.


[I forgot to mention that a key component is building up military support for 
Taiwan, a clear provocation to China...]

The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign went out on the block just before we 
stopped, right by the Gucci store, even though it had made it to that last 
corner each of the two previous weeks. Too bad, too, because the officers would 
have been able to see the names of people killed by police for whom we seek 
justice. At the Square, the cops were behind the wagon so never saw the sign.

We welcome more folks to join us, at this point we're still there every Friday 
at 5 PM getting the word out that war is not the answer.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

More information about the pjw-list mailing list