Heavily armed federal officers without name tags have carried out nightly attacks on antiracist demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and snatched people off the streets into unmarked vans, sparking widespread outrage. “What we’ve seen is a continuous escalation in violence against our protesters,” says Lilith Sinclair, an Afro-Indigenous local organizer in Portland. They note the federal violence follows many years of “severe police brutality” from local police. “It’s left the people of Portland not only worried about their safety, but, even more so, justified in the fight that we’re engaged in.”
July 21, 2020
AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Portland, Oregon, where militarized federal officers continued their nightly attacks on antiracist protesters Monday, shooting gas and projectiles at demonstrators outside Portland’s courthouse, in a scene that’s become all too familiar in recent weeks: camouflaged U.S. agents deployed by the Department of Homeland Security waging a campaign of violence against largely peaceful demonstrations in Oregon.
The harrowing scene in Portland has drawn increased outrage in recent days, with Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden demanding federal forces be removed from the streets, and an investigation into reports that unidentified federal officers have snatched protesters off the streets into unmarked vans and detained them.
On Saturday, Navy veteran Christopher David, who went to the site of the protests to question the officers about their use of violence, was hospitalized with his right hand broken in two places after the officers beat and pepper-sprayed him.
On Monday, Trump praised the use of unmarked cars and unidentified officers against the antiracist protesters and vowed to deploy law enforcement agents to more U.S. cities.
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Trump’s police-state attack in Portland, Oregon
20 July 2020
The Trump administration is carrying out an extraordinary intervention in the city of Portland, Oregon, targeting demonstrators protesting against police killings for violent assault and what amounts to kidnapping by federal agents. Armed thugs of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal agencies have fired on crowds with CS tear gas, rubber bullets and sonic weapons that can do permanent physical damage. At least one protester has been severely injured by an “impact munition” fired by a federal marshal.
Federal agents have driven up to groups of protesters, grabbed people and bundled them into unmarked vans, hauling them off to undisclosed locations for interrogation. Many of these agents have worn generic camouflage rather than uniforms which normally identify their names or agencies. One protester, who was seized by men in military fatigues and patches on their clothing saying only “police,” said he did not know whether they were actually police or ultraright extremists working with the police. “It feels like fascism,” he said.
Portland is intended as a test case of the type of methods that Trump pledged to carry out on June 1, when he threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 against the mass protests over the police murder of George Floyd, and ordered thousands of federal agents and National Guard troops into the streets of Washington, D.C.