Portland protests grow after federal intervention, drawing wall of moms, 'Naked Athena'
Portland, Oregon, was grappling with dwindling anti-racism protests and adjacent acts of vandalism in early July, weeks after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. But state and local officials all agree a surge of federal agents made everything much worse.
Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler, Gov. Kate Brown (D), and other Oregon officials are demanding the federal agents leave Portland — President Trump and the Homeland Security Department's acting leaders are refusing — and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued DHS and U.S. Marshals Service in federal court Friday, seeking a restraining order to "immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians." The top federal prosecutor in Oregon also asked for an investigation by federal inspectors general. So did the leaders of the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Homeland Security Committees.
On the streets of downtown Portland, the demonstrations grew, drawing out people who had not protested before but were furious over the federal incursion.
The crowd on Sunday night included a larger "Wall Of Moms" than the one that debuted Saturday night.
The most famous first-time protester Saturday night was Christopher David, a 53-year-old Navy veteran who wanted to talk to the feds and was instead beaten with a club and pepper-sprayed.
But there was also "Naked Athena," a woman who walked out in front of police at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning wearing nothing but a face mask and cap. "Everyone seemed surprised and kind of astounded," said Dave Killen, an Oregonian photographer who witnessed the NSFW scene. "She was incredibly vulnerable," he said. "It would have been incredibly painful to be shot with any of those munitions with no clothes on." She stood, did ballet poses, sat. The police left after about 10 minutes, and so did she.
The protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, and being used as pawns for Trump's re-election effort is "really terrible," local resident Joel Barker told the Times. "I want America to understand how terrible it is to feel like a city you love is being occupied by your own federal government, because that's how it feels."