Posted by troublemaker on November 12, 2011
On orders from Mayor Sam Adams (1%), Portland Police (99%) plan to turn a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation this weekend. Despite police stating Occupy Portland “has been peaceful since it began over a month ago”(1), Mayor Sam Adams claims he must protect the people from poor sanitation by ordering almost certain violence. Make no mistake. This is not a parent threatening to spank a child if he or she does not clean his or her room. Police will likely be armed with live ammunition because reports have been circulated that protesters are arming themselves with spiked clubs and other makeshift weapons(1).
“The statement from Portland police came a day after Portland Mayor Sam Adams, citing sanitation and safety concerns, gave demonstrators until 12:01 a.m. on Sunday to clear out their tents.” (1)
As police have been clear that Occupy Portland has been a peaceful assembly, if Portland police enforce the order of Mayor Sam Adams to end the protest, it seems police will be violating not only Oregon law, but US and International law and convention. Yes, there are sanitation and safety concerns with any large gathering, however the applicable right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly make no mention of those rights being null and void when they are inconvenient for government.
Indeed if a citizen has a right, let say the right not to be raped, then his or her government is obligated to ensure that right. The same would seem true of both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This is why police, despite expense, have a mandate to promote a person’s right not to be raped. This is why police, despite expense, have a mandate to promote a person’s right free speech and assembly. Rather then creating what many feel is the pending violent confrontation, Mayor Sam Adams should take measures to facilitate the safe and sanitary expression of these rights. This is why police (99%) should stand down when ordered to clear the protest by Mayor Sam Adams (1%).
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (2)
Although at first glance, the First Amendment seems to apply only to Congress, since Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925) the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution etends the First Amendment to all US States via the mandate for due process.
Freedom of Assembly is recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (3).
What Mayor Sam Adams and other officials who seek to end Occupy encampments fail to realize is that one can not use force to stop an idea. While they try, actions against peaceful protesters will do nothing more than to enrage the public. In the case of Occupy Portland, it is clear that even the police feel the protest has been peaceful. While a handful of people might blame protesters for the violence that will take place if police follow the mayor’s orders, many will recognize that prior to the order to end the protest even the police said the protest had been peaceful.
All of this over the Mayor Adams concerns for sanitation?
As it seems Mayor Sam Adams will not stand down, we urge police to arrest the lawless but stand down from any general order to act against peaceful assembly and protest. You are part of the 99%. You are the people. Do not tread on your own right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Refuse, I beg you, refuse any order to clear the encampment. Let freedom be your Christmas present to this country and let dignity be a gift to your self. Stand down.