Occupy Portland protesters target defense bill

first_imgPORTLAND — A tense night marked by the arrests of 19 Occupy Portland participants was followed Sunday by a gathering of dozens of local protesters taking issue with a $662 billion defense spending bill.The Oregonian reported some 30 protesters assembled at Salmon Street Springs Fountain in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act.Protesters noted language in a version passed 93-7 by the Senate version that says U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism can be detained indefinitely.“The thing that concerns me is reflections on McCarthyism, where anybody suspected of being a Communist was detained and abused, essentially,” said march organizer Terris Harned, 32. “Our main concern and our main goal is to raise awareness. This bill has very much flown under the radar, and we don’t think people have been made aware enough about it.”The U.S. House of Representatives has not voted on its version of the bill.The defense bill protest followed activity the night before at South Park.Officers moved protesters from South Park blocks around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, after the park was closed a half hour early, Sgt. Pete Simpson said.But 19 who refused to leave or resisted were arrested, held with flex cuffs and hauled away by police, he said.He said the arrests came amid “reports of demonstrators setting up structures in what appeared to be an attempt take over the park.”Occupy Portland protesters set up tents in a portion of the park that runs through Southwest Portland earlier Saturday and vowed to stay through the winter, defying city officials who said overnight camping will not be allowed.last_img read more