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The Portland Protests Deconstructed

BY: Giordano Proulx

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, demonstrators continue to protest across the United States. These protests have been mostly peaceful.. Yet despite the peaceful nature of many protests, law enforcement has been draconian and violent, oftentimes violating the rights of protestors. The use of harmful suppression tactics such as tear gas, non-lethal ammunition, and simple batons have drawn the world’s attention. Portland, Oregon functions as an example of these violations, as federal agents have been snatching individuals off the street, and have been engaging in other disturbing acts.

It began on June 26th, when President Trump signed an executive order to send federal agents into cities to protect monuments, statues and government property from vandalism and arson. The situation escalated on July 1st, when it was reported that some individuals graffitied the wood window coverings of the Hatfield Courthouse. In response, federal agents were deployed to Portland to protect the property. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter has become much more terrifying. 

Though the original scope of their mandate was to protect the courthouse, these federal agents have made their presence known in the city, adopting a role comparable to a secret police force. Their behaviour of operating extrajudicially is reminiscent of the KGB and the Gestapo. In a truly horrific fashion, these officers, who lacked any identification, snatched people off the street and detained them for hours without proper explanations. Moreover, reports began circulating detailing how federal agents were arresting individuals and detaining them in unmarked vehicles. 

These events have caused many to question which agency these federal agents belong. Some speculate that it could be the local Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents because their uniform resembles individuals in videos recorded by protesters. Additionally, a senior member of the CBP, Mark Morgan, stated on July 17th: “CBP will continue to arrest the violent criminals that are destroying federal property & injuring our agents/officers in Portland. CBP will restore and maintain law and order.” This further supports the theory that the CBP are the federal agents in question.

Hence, politicians and protesters have urged these federal agents to stand down, citing their extrajudicial practices as unconstitutional and fearing these acts may set a dangerous precedent. Americans have developed an inherent distrust towards law enforcement agencies, caused by the killings of an absurd number of unarmed individuals. The last thing they need is to fear abduction by these same people.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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