Protesters: ‘This isn’t a war zone, this is Portland’

2020 Protests

Federal agents' presence continues to ignite protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New faces have continued to emerge during the protests taking place nightly in Downtown Portland within the last couple of weeks.

The shift in demographics has coincided with protests becoming largely politically-driven, particularly after the day’s peaceful demonstrations conclude.

Protests began in late May following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of a Minneapolis Police officer. Demonstrations, which began centered around the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, have since attracted an anti-Trump contingency over the use of federal agents at the very protests.

One Army veteran KOIN 6 spoke with came out to the protests after she saw the Navy veteran getting hit by federal officers.

“It disturbs me,” said Jenine Betschart who served in both Iraq and Germany. “This isn’t a war zone, this is Portland. Law enforcement, military intelligence, police — we all share things in common. One is the understanding of the Geneva Conventions and rules of engagement — what you can and can’t do when you are arresting people. You have to have probable cause. You have to have accountability. You can’t just walk up without an ID and arrest someone off the street.”

Norma Lewis holds a flower while forming a “wall of moms” during a Black Lives Matter protest on Monday in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

One of the groups that’s also emerged is “Wall of Moms” who have been protesting for the previous four nights. Organizers say they are out to protect peaceful protesters and their rights. The group is made up of mothers, grandmas and aunts alike, members said they came together following the arrival of federal agents.

On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he would appear before protesters beginning at 9 p.m. Wheeler’s office confirmed the mayor will show up at the intersection of SW 3rd and Madison, the area of the Justice Center and the Hatfield Courthouse that has been the main site of the protests for what will be the 55th consecutive night of demonstrations.

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