Thousands fill Portland streets in global climate strike


Climate protesters in Portland held signs that read "There is no Planet B"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of students demanding action on the global climate crisis walked out of class Friday as part of a global climate strike.

Portland-area students joined the protest and said they’re willing to do anything to help preserve the Earth. Thousands participated in a similar strike in March.

“Every  time we decide to stay silent and believe our voice doesn’t matter, we give permission another person to do the same, over and over,” said one of the event’s speakers. “Until we become a nation of ‘I can’t do anythingers.'”

The young people maintain climate change is the defining issue of their time.

“The power isn’t outside of you,” said one protester. “The power isn’t in the corporations, media, government, or big money. Those things only have power because we gave it to them.”

The message

Students rallied outside City Hall, making demands of Mayor Ted Wheeler. They want government leaders to do more to get rid carbon pollution—to reduce the use of fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy. More specifically, they want the city to rezone industrial areas as a way to shut down Zenith Oil Company’s export terminal. Police closed off nearby streets for pedestrian safety.

“Just feeling bad is no longer an option because it is not effective,” said another protester at the demonstration. “But feeling bad and using that as momentum to rise up and make a change is.”

The crowd then walked across Hawthorne Bridge where the march continued on the Eastbank Esplanade near OMSI.

They held signs saying things like “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?” and “There’s no planet B.”

Portland Public Schools

School district officials couldn’t be more proud.

“We believe this action by our students is a clear example of learning and advocacy we hope for in all our students. The subject matter aligns with both our district policies and core curriculum,” Portland Public Schools wrote in a letter to parents.

A map of the students climate change walkout demonstration for September 20, 2019. (PPB)

The rally started at City Hall at 10:30 a.m. then continued on to OMSI for a climate conference.

Police manage crowd

Portland police said the demonstration had a permit to march in the street. The march route went from City Hall at Southeast 4th Avenue and Southwest Madison Street and across the Hawthorn Bridge.

Overall, the demonstration was peaceful, however PPB notes that they made three arrests during the march, out of the several thousand individuals in attendance.

Weapons, glue, protective glasses, etc. that were confiscated from a man’s backpack after he was arrested for vandalizing the Hawthorne Bridge. (Courtesy Portland Police Bureau)

One person resisted arrest after he was caught vandalizing the Hawthorne Bridge. Police used pepper spray on the man who identified himself as Jake during the take-down. Several weapons were also confiscated from his backpack during the arrest.

Two 17-year-olds were also arrested at the rally for disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer. Both were released to adults after they were processed.

One person, who police have not yet identified, pepper sprayed someone else in the crowd. The victim was treated at the event.

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