Siege Notes, Portland July 5

July 4, 2020

I was rolling slow down Broadway when I caught the attention of a homeless headcase. He smiled and stepped off the curb, tossing a slice of cheese onto the windshield.
“What the hell?”
“Black lives matter” he replied with a sheepish grin and shuffled off.

A young asian woman, her light dress flowing nicely in the breeze, holding a sign, posed for a photo in front of the George Floyd memorial where Apple’s open display floor once stood behind clear glass, a deliberate aesthetic of transparency and light, now boarded over with black-painted plywood covered in graffitti and street art, as opaque and foreboding as a hip hop kaaba.
 
Fittingly the building sits raised on broad steps like a temple.

The mood was ominous around seven in the afternoon, where the crowd was just beginning to form in front of the Justice Center and, now fair game to rioters apparently, US District Court building. An effective sound system was playing hip hop. Stands were set up here and there in the park blocks giving out food and water. Stacks of pizza were available at a main tent where someone was setting up for a video shoot. Somewhere someone was barbecuing. Off somewhere I could hear a furious black man asserting himself in urban-pidgen. Something about not giving a fuck. Whether it had to do with racial injustice or the usual petty personal honor I couldn’t tell. I’m sure they can’t.

Later an overwhelmingly white crowd would riot, putting a good thousand or more on the streets to shoot fireworks at the edifices of the law for the usual purpose, to draw the police out, forcing them to violently clear the streets and provide any plausible examples of brutality that can be fed back into the narrate-o-matic as proof the police are irredeemable.

They were very vocal about protecting their tiny contingent of non-whites from the police–who, presumably were just itching to have at them, still. For a while they were all led by an effeminate black man with orange hair.

From the Portland Police Bureau’s account:

At 10:48 p.m., demonstrators continued launching fireworks and projectiles at the Federal Courthouse. Because of this, several windows were broken and fireworks and projectiles entered the Federal Courthouse building.
To protect the life and safety of personnel both inside and outside of the Federal Court House, just after 11 p.m., a riot was declared. Officers began dispersing the crowd moving demonstrators from the closed area of Southwest Broadway to Southwest 1st Avenue, Southwest Columbia to Southwest Yamhill Street.

As officers dispersed the crowd, demonstrators threw bricks, mortars, M-80s, and other flammables towards them. To defend themselves from serious injury, officers used crowd control munitions and tear gas at this time. Lasers were directed at Officer’s eyes, which is unlawful. Despite having moved from the closed area, demonstrators began to trickle back to Southwest 3rd Avenue, starting a large bonfire in the middle of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street 1 a.m.

Antifa has taken to impersonating the police sound truck that plays over a loudspeaker the standard admonitions to clear the street, etc.

A vehicle associated with the demonstration had a speaker system and false announcements were broadcast that appeared to impersonate the Portland Police Bureau’s sound truck. 

There’s probably a law somewhere against false emergency broadcasts.

Police used tear gas liberally when clearing the Justice Center siege, and I’m sure I heard rubber bullets raining down later while watching the livefeed (see below).

Fireworks were deployed by antifa.

As officers dispersed the crowd, demonstrators threw bricks, mortars, M-80s, and other flammables towards them. To defend themselves from serious injury, officers used crowd control munitions and tear gas at this time. Lasers were directed at Officer’s eyes, which is unlawful. Despite having moved from the closed area, demonstrators began to trickle back to Southwest 3rd Avenue, starting a large bonfire in the middle of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street 1 a.m.

One thing we haven’t had in Portland are people carrying weapons openly, such as in Seattle and elsewhere. Last night a mystery gunman freaked some people out.

…a man carrying a rifle was seen in the area of Southwest 4th Avenue and Salmon Street. Several demonstrators surrounded him, but left him alone and eventually he left.

Cops listed thirteen arrests this morning.  At least one handgun was found on an arrestee.

It appears most are still being released right away, and the few with more serious charges are immediately bailed out.

I watched the Fourth of July demonstrations from the safety and comfort of my home–the phrase has taken on a whole new meaning this year:

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