Outrage against Trump administration for violent crackdown on Portland protesters

The violent dispersal of anti-racist protesters on Saturday and the dozens of alleged “unlawful detentions” have motivated widespread outrage

July 20, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Federal officers have been involved in the brutal repression of anti-racist protests in Portland and other cities and President Trump has reiterated his support for this move. Photo: Twitter

The deployment of armed security forces to quell protests in the city of Portland, Oregon, has attracted widespread outrage across the United States. On Sunday, July 19, the attorney general of Oregon state, Ellen Rosenblum, filed a lawsuit against the federal administration led by president Donald Trump over “unlawful detention” of protesters.

The lawsuit is the among the many responses by state politicians against the violent crackdown by federal forces from the state. On the same day, the mayor of Portland had renewed calls for the removal of all federal forces from the city, calling their actions “abhorrent”. The state governor, Kate Brown, also decried the deployment of the forces as a “purely political theatre” by the administration.

Rosenblum’s lawsuit seeks to restraint federal security officers deployed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), specifically the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Federal Protective Services (FPS) from conducting arrests and detention of protesters in the state.

On Saturday, July 18, protesters outside the Portland Police Association building faced violent dispersal attempts by federal officials, who had declared a “riot”. Tear gas, pepper sprays and “less lethal” munitions were documented to be used by the officers. Protesters accused the forces of attacking protesters unprovoked. Several journalists who were present at the scene also complained of being intimidated and attacked by the officers.

Moreover, for more than a week, protesters have alleged of being taken into unmarked vehicles by security forces and detained for hours, before being presented to a court. Many have also stated that they were not told their ‘Miranda rights’, a customary warning given by law enforcement officials of the rights of the detained to not divulge any information if they chose to.

Residents of Portland have been conducting nightly protests against racism and police killings, since the killing of George Floyd, on May 25, in Minneapolis. Earlier in July, the DHS under the acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, have been deploying federal forces in the state of Oregon to disperse protests. President Trump has reaffirmed his willingness to deploy federal troops to quell protests.

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