Last night in Portland a cohort of some two hundred nihilist twits who fancy themselves revolutionists, many dressed in black, wearing body armor, carrying shields and armed with nightsticks and other weapons, celebrated an "Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage" by toppling statues of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, shattering the entrance to the Oregon Historical Society, smashing storefront windows, and otherwise running amok. This was not a largely peaceful protest that got out of hand. Nor was it provoked by police misconduct or overreaction.
The rampage was planned and coordinated. PNW Youth Liberation Front and Generational Resistance put out a call via Twitter for "direct action," a term that appears to be a euphemism for destruction and violence. The demand that there be no streams, videos, or photos suggests that what happened is precisely what they had in mind.
People in the crowd were repeatedly admonished not to film. Passersby who happened upon the group were ordered by demonstrators to stop filming or delete photographs, including an apartment resident who had lasers shined at his eyes and a liquid thrown in his face as he appeared to shoot video of the scene from his terrace. (Portland Protesters Topple Statues).
I fully expect the usual suspects on our city council to issue brief, pro forma declarations that of course they oppose violence before moving on to pontificate about the right to peacefully protest, lash out at the police bureau, and dismiss it all as "just property damage," well, for the most part. Defense of peaceful protest is not relevant to what went down last night.
The call here should be exactly the same as for the Michigan blockheads who plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer: perpetrators should be held accountable in accordance with rule of law. Elected officials and candidates for public office who rationalize or turn a blind eye to this stuff should be held accountable at the ballot box.
Associated Press, Portland group topples Roosevelt and Lincoln statues in protest of Columbus day, The Guardian, October 12, 2020
Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, Portland protesters topple statues of Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln in ‘Day of Rage’; police declare riot, The Oregonian/OregonLive, Updated October 12, 2020, posted October 11, 2020