Occupy Portland Protesters Leave Park Peacefully

Protesters defied midnight deadline, but left their camp later on police order.

ByABC News
November 13, 2011, 11:31 AM

Nov. 13, 2011— -- Hours after peacefully leaving two downtown Portland, Ore., parks on police orders, Occupy demonstrators were still in the streets facing lines of cops in riot gear, barring them from returning to their encampments.

The Occupy Portland demonstrators' decision to leave the parks around 8 a.m. seemed to defuse a tense situation that threatened the kind of violent confrontations that have occurred in Oakland, Calif., and other cities in recent weeks.

But as crowds returned to the blocks around the park, while police and city workers cleared the debris left behind by the protesters, tempers seemed to rise and fall as there were isolated scuffles and confrontations.

At one point when police started to move the crowd away from the parks, a woman among the demonstrators grabbed a bullhorn and led the protesters in chants of "Whose street? Our street," and "We are peaceful people."

Police Commissioner Nick Fish told ABC affiliate KATU-TV today that he thought the Portland Police Department "deserved high marks" for the patience they showed through the night and for the way they worked with the Occupy protesters to help them remove their belongings from the two parks.

Occupy Portland demonstrators claimed victory after defying the midnight deadline to leave the parks they had called home for 38 days, but then hours later peacefully followed police orders to move out.

Police began clearing tarps and debris after 8 a.m. after telling protesters who were still in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares "the park is now closed" and they had to leave, KATU-TV reported.

Many protesters obeyed the order, and police let them gather their belongings, KATU reported.

After the protesters left, police went in and started taking down tents that were left behind and gathering up garbage and whatever else was left behind.

Madison Dines, 25, told The Oregonian that after the midnight celebration, there weren't enough demonstrators left to resist the police.

"We don't have enough physical bodies to stop the police from what they are doing," he said. "We all declared victory and went home, but the reality is we needed to be here."

Though riot-geared police and some protesters faced off this afternoon as the parks were being cleared, Sgt. Pete Simpson told KATU-TV he did not expect any violence.

"I think we've arrested everyone who wanted to be arrested," he said.

Thousands of sympathizers of Occupy Portland had showed up before dawn, briefly halting downtown traffic, to support the protesters.

Occupy Portland's Facebook page lists an e-mail address for protesters wanting advice from the National Lawyers Guild -- suggesting the group was resolved to stay put at a time when officials are voicing concern about the safety and health of Occupy encampments in several cities around the country.

"Take off your riot suit. You're sexy, you're cute" and "Shame on you" were among the chants Portland protesters directed at police in riot gear who'd been dispatched to remove roughly 200 remaining protesters, according to ABC News Radio.

The early morning turn of events looked like a victory for Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who preached patience overnight after the demonstrators at first defied his order.

He had ruled out the kind of "surprise" actions police have carried out in some other cities that have resulted in violent clashes between police and demonstrators.