In order to protect protesters in Portland, Oregon, from unidentified federal agents, a group of moms gathered together to form a human shield on Saturday night.
Lindsey Smith, a preschool teacher-turned-journalist in Portland filmed video of a chain of moms gathered together in front of the federal courthouse in the downtown area chanting “Feds stay clear! Moms are here!” She posted the footage, along with ongoing commentary on the situation, to her Twitter feed.
President Donald Trump has threatened to send federal agents into cities to quell ongoing unrest over police brutality and the death of George Floyd. After calling on governors to “dominate” protesters, he directed federal agencies to head to various cities to protect federal property.
The president said that he sent federal agents to Portland, in particular, because “the locals couldn’t handle it.”
Recently, protesters in Portland said that they were being nabbed off the streets by unidentified federal agents and taken away in unmarked minivans, as The Inquisitr previously reported.
The move has ratcheted up tensions between protesters and federal agents, with reports of protesters being injured by authorities, who the New York Times reports are said to be lacking in the proper training for handling protests of this nature.
Demonstrators have been hit with projectiles from paintball guns and are regularly dispersed with tear gas. Local police are prohibited from using tear gas in most cases by a court ruling.
Saturday marked the 52nd night in a row that protests have continued in the downtown area of Portland, and while the demonstrations have grown smaller in the past week, national focus on the issue of federal agents being deployed against American citizens in the city has brought larger crowds for the past few nights.
As Smith reports, federal agents eventually emerged from inside the courthouse where the moms were standing and pushed back some of the demonstrators, which included some of the moms from the human shield. They also began firing explosives into the crowd.
Beyond the group of mothers, volunteers have been at the protests to provide people with water, food, and medical attention if needed. One group has created a makeshift restaurant called Riot Ribs, which provides protesters with barbecue meat and meat alternatives.
Local leaders have said that they want to see federal troops removed from the city and some have even suggested that the extraordinary measures are illegal. The attorney general’s office in the state filed a lawsuit against the federal officers for using what they say are unlawful tactics.
Mary B. McCord, a former national security official with the Justice Department, said that the federal response was setting a dangerous precedent.
“It sends the message that these people are terrorists and need to be treated like terrorists,” she said. “This is the kind of thing we see in authoritarian regimes.”