Oregon, June 27 (IANS) Following the example of Occupy Wall Street, 250 people including many children camped out in front of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters here, defying an order to take down their small tent city and move on.
This movement, which has spread to Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and New York, seeks nothing less than the permanent closure of ICE, which enforces immigration law away from the border.
Whatever the prospects at the national level, the protesters here managed to keep ICE offices in Portland shuttered for the last week, Efe reported.
The activists camped outside the those offices in protest against the “zero tolerance” policy of US President Donald Trump’s administration toward undocumented immigrants, which has led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents on the southern border.
The camp dawned calm and without incident this Tuesday, hours after federal agents occupied the installations and threw tear gas grenades at demonstrators who were protesting at a side entrance to the building.
“It was a very peaceful night,” one of the camp lookouts said. “Unlike what we expected, there have been no dust-ups with the federal agents, though we expect they could clear away the camp at any time — it’s on ICE property — as they warned us they would do yesterday.”
Protected by barricades, what began as a small protest last week has grown into a small city, with improvised areas for meetings and even spaces where kids can go play.
After receiving the order to evacuate or get arrested, spokespersons of the movement in Portland were emphatic in favor of resistance in a message posted on Facebook.
“We anticipated that ICE would use invasive and opaque tactics to deter the movement that is spreading across the nation. ICE can try us here in Portland, but we are unrelenting,” the post said. “Rooted as a tree, solid as a rock, united as a people. We are organized, we are ready, we here to stay until ICE is abolished!!! We need you to Rise Up, Fight Back!,” the group said.
Portland Police announced on Monday that obeying the orders of Mayor Ted Wheeler, they will not intervene nor support the federal agents in evicting the Occupy encampment.