News & Politics

Defiant Occupiers Refuse to Vacate Portland Encampment as Protests Spread to Other Cities

Portland's ICE building remained shut down by 'Occupy ICE PDX at sunrise Friday, with about 40 tents and 100-150 people obstructing all entrances and exits. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has refused Portland police action against protesters. (Photo by John Rudoff/Sipa-USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Far-left occupiers remained at the Portland headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Wednesday for the 11th day in a row after being warned by federal officials that arrests could come at any time. And spurred by President Trump’s tough immigration policies, Occupy ICE protests have spread to other cities, including New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tacoma and Chicago. The occupations, which are led by local anarchist organizations and chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America, are calling for the abolition of ICE. Some of the other occupations have seen arrests and, like in Portland, some occupants are facing evictions as well.

Tents and blockades have been set up outside the Portland ICE office since June 17, and protesters — egged on my local officials — are showing no signs of relenting.

Members of Portland’s City Council on Wednesday praised the occupiers and bashed ICE, as the protesters held a rally outside city hall during an informal city council session Wednesday morning.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who has called for the abolition of ICE, said her office is looking into the possibility of revoking the conditional use permit for the ICE facility in Southwest Portland.

“There’s no promise that we can revoke it, but if we have any grounds to do so, I want you to know that I will pursue that wholeheartedly,” Eudaly said.

“ICE is stupid,” said Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who spoke after Eudaly. “It’s not reasonable, compassionate or enforceable. So, that’s the underlying problem. And Congress needs to change the immigration laws, so that people can be with their families.”

Occupiers have also set up camp outside a New York City ICE facility.

“People are missing and there’s just an incredible amount of criminalization and dehumanization that’s happening,” Marisa Holmes, an organizer from the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, told reporters outside an ICE facility and immigration court in Manhattan. “And we just have to say this is enough. We’ve got to abolish ICE.”

In a statement on Wednesday ICE announced that undocumented aliens in detention who are facing deportation hearings in New York City will have hearings through video or audio conferencing rather than a court proceeding. “Due to attempts by certain groups to disrupt ICE operations through spreading misinformation and advocating violence against ICE employees, ICE decided to suspend transport of detainees for the foreseeable future,” the agency stated. “This decision was made in order to ensure the safety of ICE employees, the court, the public and the detainees.”

Enraged immigrant attorneys called the change a “direct attack” on their clients’ rights and demanded that ICE go back to in-person hearings.

Police told NYC occupiers to clear out of Foley Square by midnight or face arrest.

Police did not seem pleased that occupiers had written “F*CK ICE” in tape on the base of a park statue.

Tuesday night, ten anarchists at the Tacoma ICE occupation were arrested, according to the Antifa site It’s Going Down. The activists were in the midst of “a festive noise demonstration in solidarity with undocumented migrants” late at night when the po-po inexplicably started “harassing” them.

We wanted to let those incarcerated inside the NWDC to know that they have support on the outside, that we want them released immediately. Our numbers were small, numbering around 40. A single police car appeared and started harassing one of us, the officer called for backup and suddenly twelve police cars rolled up.

The police immediately started snatching people, with no warning or dispersal order. In the confusion, ten of us were arrested for alleged riotous behavior. Our friends are in jail and we are raising money for bail, follow the link at the bottom. In the face of repression, we must bounce back with more force, more numbers. If you are able and willing, please join us outside the NWDC. We need people here day and night, and especially for the noise demos every day at 9 AM and 9 PM. Repression wont stop us, we aren’t going anywhere.

On Wednesday the city served the remaining occupiers an eviction notice, giving them until 6 p.m. Thursday to remove all of the tents, tarps, gazebos, portapotties and other items.

For their last night, the Tacoma occupiers held another “noise demonstration”:

And burned an American flag: