‘Sleeping Dragon’ tactic appears in Portland protest

Tactic of interlocking arms or chaining self to pole has been around for years

Protesters blocked a deportation bus from leaving the ICE building in Portland on October 11, 2017. (KOIN)
Protesters blocked a deportation bus from leaving the ICE building in Portland on October 11, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Sleeping Dragon made an appearance in Portland Wednesday night.

Activists protesting ICE deportations in Southwest Portland locked arms using what is known as a Sleeping Dragon, a device made of pipe, plastic, chicken wire, duct tape and chains.

In an email to KOIN 6 News, PPB Sgt. Chris Burley said that people using “Sleeping Dragons place their hands inside the pipe and lock their arms together by handcuffs, zip tie or another method. The pipe is often wrapped in materials that make it extremely difficult to cut.”

Portland police said demonstrators used what is known as a "Sleeping Dragon," a device made of pipe, plastic, chicken wire, duct tape and chains. (PPB)
Portland police said demonstrators used what is known as a “Sleeping Dragon,” a device made of pipe, plastic, chicken wire, duct tape and chains. (PPB)

When the protesters refused to move or take their arms out of the Sleeping Dragon, officers had to use tools that cause sparks to cut it. That prompted officers to put fire retardant hoods and earmuffs on to protect them as they cut the Sleeping Dragon.

No one was hurt in the protest, but 6 people were cited by police.

The use of Sleeping Dragons has been around for a few years and comes in many shapes and sizes.

In 2014, the activist group Portland Rising Tide said 27-year-old Sunny Glover chained herself to the top of a tripod of steel poles erected over the Columbia River at Port Westward near Clatskanie railroad tracks. Glover vowed to stay on the structure as long as possible.

Crews worked late into the night to remove Glover from the tripod, cutting each pole 1-foot at a time. Eventually, crews were able to remove her from the tracks and took Glover into custody.

In January 2014, protesters blocked Interstate 93 leading into Boston, Massachusetts during the morning commuter rush. One group blocked the northbound side of the highway using sleeping dragons embedded in barrels full of concrete, according to a story in Medium.