May Day protesters marching through downtown Portland


by Staff

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:03 AM

PORTLAND -- May Day demonstrations began early Tuesday morning in North Portland with high school students rallying outside school district headquarters.

May Day protests were planned across the nation Tuesday, as labor, immigration and Occupy activists rally support on the international workers' holiday. The events were expected to disrupt the commutes in major U.S. cities with demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience. This will likely include the most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since Occupy encampments came down last fall.

In Portland, high school students were waving signs and chanting slogans, to protest school budget cuts and teacher layoffs.  Theirs was just one of many May Day rallies and marches planned in Portland Tuesday.

More: Portland high school students march on May Day

The student rally was followed with a "Land Liberation and Space Reclamation" event that began in Woodlawn Park at 9 a.m. and an unexpected march which quickly moved across the Broadway Bridge and into downtown Portland, then on to Lincoln High School. Police were traveling on motorcycles alongside the marchers, keeping traffic moving safely around them but allowing the protesters to move forward.

According to the Occupy Portland website, a "general strike rally" was scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. in the 100 block of W Burnside, followed by a march the group called "An unpermitted event, 'Friendly to otherwise unfriendly tactics.'”

The only permitted event was a downtown Portland rally and parade expected to start around 3:30 p.m. and last for about three hours. The parade route goes north on Broadway, east on Burnside Street, south on Southwest Second Avenue, west on Columbia Street and then back up to the South Park Blocks. (See parade route map below.)

The final event of the day was supposed to be a party, starting at 6 p.m. in the South Park Blocks.

The Portland Police Bureau said bike and horse patrols would be out all day and extra officers would be standing by. Sgt. Pete Simpson also said police were working with business owners to ensure protesters could not occupy any buildings.

"The Portland Police Bureau has expressed concerns to organizers about unaffiliated groups attempting to disrupt the permitted event and engaging in illegal behavior," Lt. Robert King explained in a statement to the media Monday. "Those who willingly commit illegal acts must be aware of the consequences of those actions, which include requests to cease illegal activity, citations, or arrests."

In 2010, the May Day march swelled to more than 4,000 people and at least 11 rallies were held across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Background: 2010 May Day events