Police use pepper on activists

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Several hundred people marched in Northeast Portland in a protest rally that led to a clash with police who used pepper spray.

The Oregonian reports that Saturday afternoon’s protest by a coalition of groups that grew out of last year’s Occupy Portland movement was mostly peaceful.

But police say they responded with pepper spray after a few of the demonstrators used wooden shields to confront officers.

Authorities did not say how many people were sprayed. The Oregonian reported at least 20 were sprayed, but there was no word of any injuries. USA Today

HIGHLIGHTS

Though the protest was mostly peaceful, at least 20 people were pepper-sprayed by police. Several of those pepper-sprayed were high school teens. OregonLive.com

The Portland Police Bureau said in a news release Saturday that the event did not have a permit and organizers did not respond to requests about discussing the intent of the march. Free speech events don’t require a permit, but marches on public streets do require a city permit, the police news release said. Police declined to comment further. OregonLive.com

The pepper-spraying occurred when the group turned left on Northeast 14th Avenue from Multnomah Street. Those fronting the rally were blocked by a line of police, including officers in riot gear and several mounted patrols. OregonLive.com

Protest spokesman Nicholas Caleb says no one at the organization received prior communication about the need for a permit. ABC News

“We thought it was important to have this rally right before the election to get these issues into the public consciousness and begin to organize against austerity measures,” Caleb said. OregonLive.com

“It’s always a possibility that police will insert themselves,” he said. “We try to be peaceful. Protest in Portland is not violent. That they continue to use this much force is pretty unconscionable.” OregonLive.com