Portland Protest: The Deepening Crisis in the United States

Federal officers disperse Black Lives Matter protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Portland has been rocked by the protest for over 50 days. The death of George Floyd, an African American killed when a white officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck, saw people taking to the streets in large numbers demanding racial equality and police reforms. However, the once peaceful protests turned violent marked by looting, damage to property and instances of police brutality.

Last week, federal officers were deployed in Portland with an attempt to suppress the protests. The officers, however, overstepped their limit, detaining protesters without justification. Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department have made more than a dozen or rest up till now. What made things difficult for federal agencies was the fact the protestors were using black clothing and face covers. Department of Home Security as of now has no plans to increase its presence in other states to ‘control’ chaos. Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler demanded the federal agents to leave the city. However, Home Security has no plans to do so. Portland officials said that the administration of President of United States Donald Trump is infringing upon the rights of the protestors and also interfering with localised of efforts to quell the uprising. Portland Police Association President, Daryl Turner on Sunday said that the city is under siege and there is complete anarchy and absence of law and order situation.

Mr Wheeler on Sunday said that in the beginning the protest were largely peaceful and turned violent after clashes between the protestors and officials deployed by the Department of Home Security and he feared that someone might be killed. Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum filed the lawsuit against the Home Security hurling accusations at the officials for violating the right of the protesters and detaining them without any reason. Mr Wheeler also said that he was never asked whether he wants the federal government help and also he was not informed that federal forces would arrive in his City. House Democrats on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform Committees condemned the use of unlawful means while dealing with the protectors in Washington D.C., Portland and wrote letters to Justice Department and Department of Home Security inspector calling for an investigation. The situation created in Portland with the deployment of federal officers has led to multiple reactions from across the political spectrum. Oregon governor, Kate Brown accused acting Home Security Secretary Chad Wolf of putting Oregon’s citizens in danger. Senior democrat Nancy Pelosi said that they were kidnapping protesters in a reference to the federal officers.

Image source: USA Today

President Donald Trump faces difficult months ahead as his plan to quell civil unrest seems to backfire. The protests that have rocked the United States since the death of George Floyd are cited as one of the reasons for the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases after days of reporting few cases compared to before. President Trump’s chances of a second term appear to be diminishing because of his lack of responsiveness following the outbreak of coronavirus and now the protests seem to be posing a serious threat to his presidency.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Airina Kumar

Airina Kumar is a Former Journalism Intern at The Kootneeti's North America Desk

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