Portland residents surround city hall with pitchforks and torches to protest laws against homeless
By John Vibes
PORTLAND, OREGON (INTELLIHUB) — All over the country local and federal governments have been criminalizing homelessness.
In some areas it is illegal to sleep or set up encampments on any public property, in other areas it is illegal for charitable organizations to feed the homeless.
Even worse, in some areas they are even rounding up the homeless and putting them into camps.
Recently in Portland, an area strongly effected by these types of anti-homeless laws, activists surrounded city hall with pitchforks and torches to let the mayor know that they were serious about the local governments inhumane policies in regards to the homeless.
Portland will soon be passing a bill that would allow police to disperse or arrest homeless people sitting on sidewalks, The Oregonian reported at the end of last year. In July, Mayor Charlie Hales launched an effort to clear out homeless campsites, according to the Portland Mercury. The specifics of that law actually make it illegal to have a blanket on a sidewalk.
The group of about 50 protesters gathered at City Hall on Tuesday, waving pitchforks and torches. They turned the surrounding gardens into a cemetery scene to signify the number of homeless people who have frozen to death, Jessie Sponberg, the protest’s organizer wrote on his Facebook page.
“You know, the cops are out there sweeping out these camps. Destroying the closest thing to a normal life that these people have managed to carve out in this crazy world,” Sponberg wrote. “Throwing everything they have into the garbage. And it’s not that the cops are doing this because they are jerks. They may be jerks, but they get a pass on this one. In this case they are just doing their jobs, following city policy, as per established by Mayor Hales.”