PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least 5 major demonstrations were planned to coincide with Fourth of July celebrations Saturday, according to Portland Black Lives Matter officials. And by Saturday night, hundreds of people had once again gathered outside of the Justice Center for the nightly demonstration.
Anti-Independence Day March
Beginning at noon, the day’s first two events took place: a march in from Portland State University and an event at the Oregon State Capitol.
The Anti-Independence Day March began at the PSU Native American Student & Community Center. Organizers said the march was to promote Indigenous solidarity for Black liberation. Snacks, water, masks, medical supplies, and physically distanced seats for high risk, and elders were provided.
In Salem, the Black Lives Matter Solidarity hosted by Salem Community Organizers was set to lead a peaceful and family-friendly celebration. BLM said it would provide water, masks, and encourage social distancing.
Stand Up and Ride Against Racism Canceled
A 1 p.m. march in Northeast Portland that was slated to begin at Sabin Elementary was canceled shortly before it was scheduled to begin. The Stand Up and Ride Against Racism participants were supposed to begin at Sabin and then march to Irvington Elementary. Organizers have not specified why the event was canceled.
Youth-led Black Lives Matter March
At 2 p.m., a Maywood Park Black Lives Matter began at Mt. Hood Community College. Youth organizers led the march up and down Maywood and then stood on 102nd Avenue. Participants were encouraged to bring signs and wear face masks.
Co-organizer Ruby Marshall said the youth are “done with what’s going on in America right now.” Marissa Martino, another march organizer, said she was frustrated that she wasn’t old enough to vote yet, but believes that taking part in activism now is a way to make their voices heard. She said organizing will strengthen their voices and conviction at the ballot box in a few years.
“We will do anything that we can to get our point across so that people understand where we are coming from and what we believe in,” said Martino.
“I think it’s extra important because we go to a really diverse school and we need to be here and show we are about the students at our school,” said Marshall.
Co-organizer Ashley Brassea told KOIN 6 News the Maywood Park march started as a way for adults to help some high school students organize their first march. The event also hosted the Portland Peace Team for de-escalation, being safeguarded by BikeSwarm, and was endorsed by longtime justice and police reform coalition Albina Ministerial Alliance. The march concluded around 4 p.m.
Motorcycle riders for ‘Bars Up Guns Down’
Around 6 p.m., an event called Bars Up Guns Down was organized outside of Revolution Hall at 13th and Stark in support of the Black Lives Matter movement for anyone with a motorcycle, dirtbike, or the like.
Organizers said the group will be riding to the Justice Center and back to protest police brutality against Black citizens.
“I think this is a fun outlet, especially for people who ride motorcycles. Having attended the Justice Center protests the last couple weeks I think this is a nice change of pace,” said Andrew Han.
Keith Waller, who was riding an on-road/off-road dirt bike said he was participating to protest police brutality and profiling.
“People should be judged on their actions instead of the color of their skin,” said Waller. “Everyone should be treated equal.”
He mentioned that they were there to protest peacefully.
‘Unite the Community’
A celebration of cultures was held at Fields Park in Northwest Portland Saturday evening, organized by The People vs. ICE, a coalition that has recently held “Abolish ICE” demonstrations in the city.
Fireworks at the Justice Center
Several hundred people were gathered in Chapman Square, across the street from the Justice Center Saturday night.
Fireworks were set off in the street, including aerial fireworks which are illegal in Oregon. Some protesters were seen aiming fireworks at the US District Courthouse near the Justice Center as well.
Portland police said they were aware of the aerial fireworks, as well as “a sound amplification system that is mimicking commands similar to those used by the PPB sound truck.” Police said any official commands that come from their sound truck will also be repeated on Twitter.
“Fireworks and explosive devices are a serious safety risk to demonstration participants and officers. Do not direct fireworks or other incendiary devices towards the Justice Center. The fireworks are impacting the adults in custody within the building. Cease these activities now.”
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office issued a similar statement on Twitter, stating that commercial-grade fireworks are an “extreme fire risk.”