With yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese that they will enforce park camping laws beginning 12:01 this Sunday, a showdown between the police and Occupy Portland might be inevitable.
To help create a buffer zone between the encampment and any police action, a decision was made at the General Assembly last night to create a “swarm” of people on bikes and foot around Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Here’s more from activist and videographer Dan Kaufman:
“The general consensus is that there needs to be a party and potluck Saturday night and camp needs to be cleaned and cleared of much of the stuff (tents and other belongings) in advance. Occupiers want as many supporters as possible to protect and hold the camp in a non-violent fashion.”
The idea of the bicycle swarm, says Kaufman, is akin to creating a critical mass of riders around the parks. “You’re not doing anything illegal, you’re just riding your bike.” Kaufman says people on bikes and foot will circle around the parks to “disrupt the flow of what’s going on.”
The atmosphere of the bicycle swarm and inside the camps is intended to be festive and non-threatening. Kaufman encourages folks to wear costumes, decorate their bikes and bring bike sound systems.
The swarm meets at 11:00 pm at Salmon Street Fountain on Saturday night and will then roll to the encampments. Organizers say they hope new groups continue to arrive on the streets surrounding Chapman and Lownsdale Squares each hour on the hour beginning at 11:00 pm because it’s unknown exactly what time the police might begin a raid or whether or not they’ll do it at all.
“Be prepared to stay up late or be called back later since we won’t know when the Swarm will be needed most. Text PDXOccupy to 23559 to receive critical updates,” reads the event listing.
Learn more about the event on Kaufman’s blog.
(This bicycle swarm concept reminds me of the “Super Legal Rides” organized by Elly Blue back in 2005.)