PORTLAND, Oregon - Riot police used pepper spray and struck some demonstrators
with batons after ordering hundreds of people to leave a protest near a hotel
where President George W. Bush attended a fund-raiser.
Protesters hammered on the hoods of police cars as pepper spray wafted through
the air. Protesting Bush's foreign policy, they chanted "Drop Bush, Not Bombs."
Bush supporters in formal attire were jostled and taunted by protesters as
they arrived for a fund-raiser for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Gordon
Smith. After elbowing through the demonstrators, they were checked by Secret Service
agents before they were allowed inside the hotel.
Brian Schmautz, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said protesters threw things at the police.
Protesters at one point pushed down a barricade and a female police officer who was standing behind it, Groepper said. The officer sprained or broke her wrist falling down, and two patrol cars were damaged, Groepper said.
Protesters are doused with pepper spray as police clear the streets around an
event President Bush was attending in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, Aug.
22, 2002. (AP Photo/John Gress)
Police ordered about 500 protesters to move. Riot police wearing helmets then walked into the area, pushing activists with their batons. Some activists fell. Police then fired aerosol canisters of pepper spray at the protesters.
Police also used pepper spray after about 150 demonstrators blocked vehicle access to Morrison Bridge.
Five protesters were arrested through the afternoon, police spokesman Henry Groepper said.
Many of the protesters criticized a new forest initiative announced earlier in
the day by Bush that would make it easier for timber companies to cut wood from
fire-prone national forests.
new policy is classic doublespeak," said Kenneth Kreuschu, 24, of Cascadia Forest
Alliance. "It has been shown time and again that more cutting leads to more fire.
The new policy is a hoax."
Some of the activists were worried about a possible war with Iraq.
Hundreds of protesters fill a street in downtown Portland yesterday. (AP Photo)
"I don't think any American boys' lives are worth a barrel of oil," said Rob Moitoza, 57, who carried a sign that said: "Vets Against Bush."
Moitoza said he served two years in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War and fears a much worse conflict if U.S. troops are sent to Iraq.
"If he (Bush) starts a war against Iraq, it will be to get re-elected. All he cares about is wealth and power," Moitoza said.
Before flying to Portland from Medford, Bush was taken to a still-smoldering fire.
About a dozen protesters dotted Bush's motorcade route. Some waved signs saying,
"No attack of Iraq. You can't fix Daddy's mistake" and "More forests, less Bush."
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press