PORTLAND -- May Day demonstrations took place across Portland Tuesday, including marches by students, the 'reclaiming' a foreclosed home, a peaceful May Day march and the arrests of some protesters who blocked downtown streets during an unpermitted march.
The only permitted event was a downtown Portland rally and parade. The rally began at 3:30 p.m. and the march followed. Thousands of people took part to show solidarity for labor and immigration rights. More: Official May Day rally & march
Earlier in the day, several people were arrested during a protest in downtown Portland. Officers on horseback made one arrest and a swarm of bicycle patrol officers made the later arrests. Police told KGW on Wednesday that they used intentional tactics designed for large, unruly crowds.
"If we send in just a few number of officers, that emboldens the crowd to believe that maybe, they can have some kind of pushback," explained Commander Bob Ray with the Portland Police Bureau.
In all, 36 people were arrested Tuesday, according to police. The charges included assaulting a public safety officer, interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.
"During the demonstrations, several participants were very combative with officers and fought with officers during arrests," said Lt. Robert King. He said officers seized "projectiles" from suspects, including bottles, rocks, hammers and unlit road flares.
There was also some vandalism during the protests, including damage at a Wells Fargo branch on SE Hawthorne Blvd., an ATM and the US Bank branch on SW 6th Avenue. King said protesters also lit a fire in a dumpster inside a parking garage.
Interactive Map: May Day events in Portland
The day began with a peaceful student rally. They waved signs and chanted slogans to protest school budget cuts and teacher layoffs. Then, the high school students marched across the Broadway Bridge, into downtown Portland, to Lincoln High School and then on to City Hall. Police traveled on motorcycles alongside the marchers, keeping traffic moving safely around them.
The student rally was followed with a "Land Liberation and Space Reclamation" event that began in Woodlawn Park at 9 a.m. Members of the Occupy Portland movement also "reclaimed" a foreclosed home near the park as part of their protest.
A "general strike rally" started at 11:30 a.m. under the Burnside Bridge and then those protesters began to march into downtown Portland. The majority of the arrests occurred after protesters defied police orders to stay on the sidewalks and flooded into the streets.
"The Portland Police Bureau is committed to allowing participants to express their free speech rights. Our overall objective is to take all appropriate action to help make this event happen in a way that is safe for participants and the general public alike," Sgt. Pete Simpson said Tuesday.
May Day protests went on across the nation Tuesday, as labor, immigration and Occupy activists rallied for support on the international workers' holiday. The events disrupted the commutes in major U.S. cities with demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience. In Seattle, officers used pepper spray on protesters and vandalism occurred around the city.