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Portland’s season of unrest rekindled after Kyle Rittenhouse verdict

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) — As one of many United States’ whitest main cities, this Northwestern outpost has captured headlines for its giant and generally raucous protests for racial justice and the aggressive regulation enforcement crackdowns that adopted.

Now the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who shot three folks, two fatally, at a protest march in Kenosha, Wisconsin, final 12 months, has added extra gasoline to the Portland activist motion. 

“We try to attract consideration to the truth that it’s extremely harmful to say ‘Black Lives Matter,’” the Rev. Lenny Duncan shouted right into a bullhorn outdoors of Windfall Park, a soccer stadium in downtown Portland, on Sunday (Nov. 21).

Duncan, an activist pastor now primarily based in Portland, and different religion leaders staged a “die-in” of about 150 folks after snaking via Portland on Sunday.

Activists lay on the chilly sidewalk and on the street, surrounding police vehicles. From contained in the stadium, a couple of offended outbursts may very well be heard from soccer followers, and on the street, folks carrying Portland Timbers scarves and hats gingerly stepped over activists.

Rittenhouse’s acquittal drew reward from gun-rights teams and conservative
commentators however horror from racial justice organizers, sharing Duncan’s view that the Wisconsin verdict despatched a message that armed provocateurs can kill protesters with impunity.

Although the folks Rittenhouse killed or wounded have been white, the shootings occurred throughout a protest in opposition to the capturing of Jacob Blake, a Black Kenosha resident, by native police.

RELATED: Kyle Rittenhouse, whiteness and a divinely ordained license to kill

Sunday’s protest was organized by clergy with the BIPOC Religion Leaders Council for Black Lives and the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance. “We’re not afraid,” the activists chanted. Different chants included “F– you Kyle” and “Black Lives Matter.” (BIPOC stands for “Black and Indigenous folks of shade.”)

Portland has been rocked by political violence since earlier than the loss of life of George Floyd ignited the Black Lives Matter motion in Could 2020. Even at peaceable protests, stated one activist, D.X., who requested to publish his initials solely as a result of he has a lawsuit pending in opposition to public security officers, it’s common for armed and unidentified folks to face by menacingly. Far-right teams resembling Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys routinely conflict violently with black-clad leftists throughout demonstrations.

Protests have additionally cropped up over COVID-19 restrictions, notably from evangelical Christians opposing the closure of church buildings. In August, when Christian musician Sean Feucht returned to Portland on the anniversary of his 2020 “Let Us Worship” rally, members of his safety element shot fireworks from their pickup vans as night time fell, and anti-fascists threw steel spikes on the street in response.

The identical week of the Kenosha capturing, Patriot Prayer member Aaron “Jay” Danielson was shot and killed simply minutes from the place clergy marched in Portland on Sunday. Left-wing activists are fast to notice that federal brokers later shot and killed Danielson’s suspected killer, Michael Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist activist, whereas Rittenhouse was acquitted.

The prospect of extra violence has maybe acted to quiet Portland’s lengthy season of unrest. After Sunday’s march, native pastor Brendan Curran stated the comparatively small turnout was as a result of neighborhood fears about violence from armed vigilantes.

“There weren’t 1000’s of individuals pouring into the streets to protest this verdict, have been there?” Curran stated.

However by the top of the march, the religion leaders had gained not less than one supporter. Because the protest ended, Eric Singleton walked from his close by house and approached the small group of organizers.

“This protest is superior,” Singleton, who’s Black, stated. “Who organized it? I wish to get entangled.”

RELATED: The Proud Boys came to Portland. Here is what I saw.


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