Friday, February 1, 2008

Freedom to Peaceably Assemble

Without fail, Portlanders have been protesting the Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq every Friday, downtown at "Portland's Livingroom" on a corner of the sidewalk forming Pioneer Courthouse Square. I haven't been there as often as I should have. One protester (Steve whom I see holding the Bush administration accountable at various places around town) asked me what brought me today. I responded simply, "Because I was asked." Somebody resent me the press release below.

For Immediate Release

Event: Friday Rally and march to focus on the meaning of the commons: public space and political expression in a democracy.
Date: Friday, January 18, 2008
Time: 5:00 PM
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway & SW Yamhill, downtown

Contacts: Portland Peaceful Response Coalition

The meaning of the commons: public space and political expression in a democracy.

City Repair Project founder, Mark Lakeman, to address Friday Rally

The founder of the City Repair Project, Mr. Mark Lakeman, will be the keynote speaker at the Friday rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square, this Friday, January 18, at 5:00 PM. Lakeman expressed his support for the Friday rally and march, saying that it was absurd that people taking part were being threatened with citations by the city.

The City Repair Project has involved neighborhoods making public spaces all over Portland. Mark Lakeman, a progressive, award-winning architect, may have the spirit of public spaces in his very genes. His parents were involved in the planning of both Waterfront Park and Pioneer Courthouse Square. His father, also an architect, helped to shape Pioneer Courthouse Square into the space now known as “Portland's living room” rather than becoming another downtown parking structure.

During the first Iraq war, the "Gulf War", Lakeman helped organize the peace demonstration, "Hands Around Portland", where hundreds joined hands around Portland and people came out of their houses to join hands for peace. It ended with big celebrations in Pioneer Courthouse Square, which was full of people of all ages from all over the area. As the crowds sat down in Portland's living room, Lakeman addressed the crowd telling the history of the square. There was music from a Seattle marching band, dancing, food, and arts from the many Portland neighborhoods.

This week’s Friday rally will proceed in the face of ongoing uncertainty regarding “noise” citations. Representatives from Portland Peaceful Response Coalition and Peace & Justice Works , accompanied by local legal support, met with City of Portland representatives this week. Discussions are continuing but a resolution has not yet been reached.

Portland Peaceful Response Coalition has started a “Friday rally legal defense fund”. Donations can be made through their website at or by mailing donations to PO Box 5112, Portland, OR 97208-5112 (please make checks payable to “PPRC” and write “Friday Rally Legal Defense Fund” in the memo line of the check).
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. First Amendement to the US Constitution, 1791-2000AD R.I.P.

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