Portland Occupiers Shut Down ICE Office, Replace American Flag with 'Refugees Welcome' Flag
"Occupy" protesters have been camping outside an ICE office in Portland, Oregon, leading the facility to temporarily shut down. The occupiers say that they won't leave until the Trump administration revokes its "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
Since Sunday the agitators, whose numbers are increasing, have been engaged in activities such as blocking the entrance to the building...
Shouting at people as they drive by...
Blocking the road...
Heckling ICE employees...
Blocking employees from leaving work...
And generally stinking up the place.
According to The Hill, one person was arrested Tuesday afternoon after the occupiers surrounded the vehicle of a departing employee.
Tuesday night DHS agents were called in to escort ICE employees out of the building.
Operations at the facility have been suspended until "security concerns have been addressed," ICE said in a statement. Antifa news aggregator "It's Going Down" crowed in a celebratory post that the occupiers had evicted ICE.
A member of Occupy ICE PDX said, "We were able to shut down this facility. Although they say it is temporary, it will not be temporary. It's another testament to what can happen when... regular people stop waiting for politicians and get together and actively make the change that they want to see in their community."
The mob continued to grow and by Friday morning, there were about 40 tents and 100-150 people obstructing all entrances and exits at the facility, according to the AP.
On Friday, someone climbed a flagpole and removed the American flag in front of the ICE building.
They replaced it with a "Refugees Welcome" flag.
The mayor of Portland has directed the police keep their distance from the occupiers on city property, according to KOIN 6 News. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said it's the federal government's job to handle this -- it's their issue and their building, according to the report.
Nearby businesses and residential properties have had to resort to hiring private security, KOIN reported.
One business had some outdoor items taken Thursday night but they were found in the camp and returned.
KOIN 6 News also spoke with protesters and supporters of the occupiers who parked in a nearby restaurant lot without permission. Some people in the South Waterfront neighborhood want the city to step in.
"We had visitors who were not comfortable as we started to walk back from a restaurant to our building, so we went back to the restaurant and called Uber," one person told KOIN 6 News.
Another said, "The other day one of the protesters jumped out in front of my car as I was going home blocking most of the street."
One protester said the occupiers are starting to get harassed too.
"Someone ... came by and sprayed ... poop," she said. "That's just mean."
Occupy anarchists are also attempting to start an occupation of the New York City ICE office, but that effort appears to be still in the beginning stages.
A scuffle broke out between the activists and police Friday night when the activists tried to block an ICE vehicle from leaving the facility.
Some other anti-ICE actions taken this week according to "It's Going Down" include:
- A mass rally in San Francisco blocked off streets and intersections surrounding an ICE facility.
- Mass rally in Boston outside of an ICE facility.
- Rally outside of detention facility in Richmond, Calif.
- Rally held in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, against ICE.
- March in New York on “People’s Monday” against attacks on immigrants.
- In New Orleans, a mass demonstration took place against Jeff Sessions at a sheriff’s convention.
- An anti-ICE march was held in El Paso, Texas.
- In Philadelphia, demonstrators clashed with police as mass protests took place against Mike Pence, who was speaking in front of a group of Republican governors.
Obviously, the organized left has settled on the immigration issue to rally around this summer. But protest season may be cut short this year. President Trump's immigration zero-tolerance policy may be "effectively dead," according to Politico. "Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that reality at a meeting Thursday afternoon, according to a former department official with knowledge of the meeting," the report noted.