Seven downtown banks and the Steel Bridge were temporarily shut down last Thursday as Occupy Portland demonstrators joined environmentalists, human rights advocates, prison reformers, and organized labor unions to take a stance against exploitative practices at major corporate banks.
“We got sold out; the banks got bailed out,” marchers yelled as they moved up and down streets and filled sidewalks to protest. Hundreds of police officers were present throughout the day.
Catherine Searns, 63, traveled with her friend from Corvallis to attend the rally.
“It’s about time we started doing something to take back our country,” she said. “It wasn’t for sale, but it’s been bought out from under us.”
Brian Lewis, 26, protested in front of the Wells Fargo downtown.
“This is the beginning of an opportunity to have national and international conversations about the economic model we have, and the vision of the future,” he said.
Although the 12-hour demonstration remained peaceful throughout most of the day, police used pepper spray in one incident near Chase Bank to move participants from the sidewalks and the streets. Over the entire day, over 15 people were arrested.
Several residents say they were disappointed with the actions of the police.