A demonstration in solidarity with Portland protesters took a militant tone
PORTLAND, OR — A demonstration in solidarity with Portland protesters took a militant tone, as demonstrators arrived Saturday at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix wearing balaclavas and tactical vests, while others carried umbrellas or wore helmets.
About 100 demonstrators showed up at the plaza in the shadow of Phoenix City Hall in support of protesters in Portland, Oregon, where federal agents have arrested protesters as part of an anti-protest “surge” ordered by President Donald Trump, testing the limits of their jurisdiction.
Similar demonstrations happened in dozens of cities across the country Saturday, which also marked the two-month anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.
Darien Barrett, an anti-police brutality activist in Tempe and Phoenix, organized the protest, and said that while he intended that the demonstration remains peaceful, “We can’t go down without a fight.”
“Today we aren’t backing down … we can’t show our weak side (any)more,” he said.
Federal agents arrived in Portland on the Fourth of July weekend, garnering national condemnation for their aggressive and legally dubious tactics against protesters. Last week, Portland’s mayor was tear-gassed at a protest, and state and local leaders have asked that federal agents leave the city.
Protesters Barricade Roads; Demonstration Ends Peacefully
The Phoenix protesters marched through the streets of downtown beginning around 7 p.m., with police following closely behind in patrol cars. As they marched, some demonstrators moved construction signs and barricades, using them to block roadways, slowing down police, who maintained a close distance.
Police got out of their vehicles and moved the barricades or simply drove over them, except when protesters blocked the road in front of the Sandra Day O’Connor federal courthouse, which prevented the police from advancing.
Protesters expressed anxiety at the idea of being arrested, or what might happen to them if police were to break up the protest.
“It’s terrifying because we are becoming a police state,” said a 23-year-old protester named Marcela who didn’t want to disclose her full name. “We don’t know what (police) will do to us.”
Behind her, an officer in a patrol car announced through a megaphone, “It is unlawful to block a thoroughfare. If you do not comply, you will be subject to arrest.”