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Street Protests Go High Tech

It's been a little odd, watching the protestors downtown outfox and outwit the Portland Police. It seems like they're always one step ahead, crowds of thousands turning on a dime when the cops confront the leading edge -- how can the back of the crowd know what's happening ahead?

Well, it might look like an unruly mob - but it's anything but. No one's talking numbers, but something like hundreds of folks signed up for the Protest Text Message Service. How did it work? People on the scene sent messages like "PEPPER SPRAY ON STEEL BRIDGE" to a central dispatcher - who broadcast them via cell phones, pagers, and wireless PDAs to everyone else on the street. Over 120 messages were sent in the eight hours during in the day-of-war protest.

Learn more about Portland's Protest Text Message Service
Read the messages broadcast on March 20

This item was originally posted at MandateMedia.com on March 27, 2003.