A peaceful and vocal protest that began at city hall this afternoon ended back at city hall following a rally in front of the Portland Police Department – protesting the most recent shooting of an unarmed black man Jacob Blake in the back seven times – leaving him paralyzed from the waist down in Kenosha, WI. and in critical condition.
Although Blake’s name was seldom mentioned during the numerous speeches, that latest attempted murder by a Police Department was the catalyst for today’s rally.
Around 4:30, protesters became aware of a handful of pro-Trumpers carrying a flag that began taunting the crowd in front of city hall. But this handful of Swamp Dwellers were quickly drowned out by protesters chanting back at them – what has become standard at rallies – “I Can’t Breathe”, “No Justice no Peace,” “No Racist Police,” “This is What Democracy Looks Like,’ These Racist Cops Have Got To Go,” and much more. The Swamp Dwellers stationed in front of Rick’s Cafe on Congress Street appeared at a loss as to how to counter the overwhelming chanting back from the crowd at city hall.
Around 5:00 pm., the hundred plus protesters marched to the Portland Police Department headquarters on Middle Street. There half a dozen speakers told stories of police entanglements among others. Justin Beck, a political activist, said: “This is about repression. It’s not about Trump. It’s about the system.” He urged the crowd to “vote them out of office,” even though it isn’t about Trump.
Maybe it’s about both Trump and the system?
Meanwhile, the Swamp Dwellers stood across the street from the Portland Police Department as well heckling the protesters, although they continued to be overwhelming outnumbered. Portland Police looked on from just outside headquarters entrance.
One Trump supporter wearing a MAGA cap asked to be recognized to speak on the steps of the Portland Police Department. He stood on the steps and asked the crowd why these protesters were so “angry?” Tanisha MacKenzie told him why and he quickly left his temporary podium.
When one swamper shouted: “All lives matter,” Sam Gerry shouted back: “Your lives don’t matter you racist.” “I hate racism. I hate oppression,” Philippe See told the crowd still standing on the steps of the Police Department and the overflow crowd on Middle Street.
Back at city hall Cody Taylor, a member of the former Homeless Encampment said: “It is time to speak up. Don’t let them drown you out. Keep talking!” By that time the swamp dwellers had returned to the swamp with their blue flag with Trump and Pence emblazed on it in big white letters.
No members of Portland’s City Council were seen at the protest today.