Mayor cancels 'March of Hope'; McKelvey says arrest was political retaliation

Protesters briefly gather along waterfront

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Mayor Charlie Hales canceled a "March of Hope" planned for Tuesday afternoon on the waterfront, after protesters planned to demonstrate against it.

"After hearing about a planned counter protest, I am disheartened to announce that the March of Hope event planned for this afternoon at 3 p.m. will be canceled," Hales announced Tuesday morning. "The goal of this march was to show solidarity with our vulnerable communities and demonstrate that as Portlanders we are all stronger together. I am disappointed that the March of Hope cannot move forward as planned."

"Canceling this event does not mean our community is canceling hope," Hales added. "I encourage everyone to continue to reach out to each other and stand against hate."

Portland's Resistance, leaders of recent anti-Trump protests, accused Hales of hypocrisy when he scheduled the march, because he had previously declared that the time for protests was over. They said he also sent police after them. The group planned to participate by showing up at the rally, but refusing to march.

Mayor and police call for an end to violence

"Mayor Hales and the Portland Police have consistently perpetuated America’s tragic tradition of assaulting peaceful protestors," said organizers of the We Won't March rally.

Three members of the group, including Portland's Resistance spokesman Greg McKelvey, were arrested Monday after they joined a protest organized by Portland Public Schools students. Police said the three had been actively encouraging students to disobey officers' orders.

The arrestees were released on their own recognizance. KGW's Dave Northfield reports charges were not filed Tuesday against the Portland Resistance leaders but could be later. McKelvey tweeted the charges were dropped.

Portland's Resistance leaders arrested during anti-Trump march

In an email to KGW, McKelvey claimed Hales orchestrated his arrest after he declined an invitation to today's march.

"Charlie Hales called me on my cell phone to invite me to a part of the 'March of Hope,' " he said. "I obviously declined and then was arrested the next day. ... I know he did not want to call and invite me but he did not want me to ruin his hypocritical march. When I declined he had to find another way to keep me from going there."

Brian Worley, Public Information Officer for the mayor's office, told KGW the accusation was unfounded.

"To claim the mayor would arrest people for political retaliation is not only inaccurate, it is dangerous," Worley said in a Twitter response to KGW reporter Mike Benner.

McKelvey told KGW the group still plans to protest, even though the march was canceled.

"Hales canceled his march today because he couldn't find any ways to keep me and supporters there [in jail]," he said. "Regardless, I'll see everyone in the streets this afternoon after court."

McKelvey said he and the other leaders were wrongly arrested.

"I was arrested for something completely false along with other Resistance organizers. No one else was arrested. The police told us all night, 'Tonight we get to arrest you,' and then they finally did.

Students sat on the Burnside Bridge during Monday night's protest but McKelvey said he did not instruct them to do so.

"This is an example of our city government's corruption and you can bet I will be loud about it," McKelvey said.

The arrestees said the police used excessive force and humiliated them.

"On the night of the 21st, we saw the Portland Police conduct deliberate targeting and arrests of three highly visible Portland's Resistance organizers. Some of these arrestees were brutally handled and publicly humiliated in front of the over 100 youth who attended the protest," said a post on the We Won't March Facebook page.

Straight Talk: Portland's Resistance


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