Peace in Portland for One Night, as Police Let Protesters Cross Into Downtown Without Resistance

It was a striking contrast to scenes at the White House and across the nation.

Two protesters sit atop a car at the far side of the protest, as groups from the Revolution Hall protest begin to reach Burnside Bridge. (Alex Wittwer)

Portland's weekend of protests showed no signs of flagging Monday, as marchers took to the streets by the thousands for the fourth consecutive night. But as the nation seemingly careened toward a showdown between the police and the policed, this city enjoyed an evening of peace.

More than 1,000 protesters of police violence crossed the Burnside Bridge into downtown this afternoon, defying a citywide curfew set by Mayor Ted Wheeler. But the Portland police allowed them passage, and the marchers did not try to breach a fence cordoning off 16 blocks around the downtown courthouses.

Instead, they gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square for what amounted to a summer block party—the kind canceled by COVID-19.

For two hours, people sang, chanted and listened to black speakers. Pharrell's "Happy" played. Riot squads did not interfere.

Then the protesters marched back across the Burnside Bridge the way they came. On the first trip, people lay flat on the blacktop for a "die-in" to honor George Floyd, killed May 26 by Minneapolis police. Police allowed the protesters to take the bridge without resistance, both times.

It was a striking contrast to scenes at the White House and across the nation, where soldiers and police departments used gas, explosives and helicopters to scatter and intimidate protesters. President Donald Trump declared rioters to be "terrorists" and threatened to send the military to states that wouldn't control protesters.

In Seattle, police cracked down with particular force tonight. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had deployed the National Guard there, something Oregon Gov. Kate Brown would only do tonight in a limited fashion.

Here is what Portland looked like tonight.

A man plays the Star Spangled Banner to on the south side of the fenced area. (Alex Wittwer)
A 17 year old girl gave an impassioned speech to the crowd about black experience in America, and police brutality. (Alex Wittwer)
A worker at multi-use office building on 5th and Taylor raises a fist in solidarity with the passing protest. (Alex Wittwer)
A cone-headed man attempts to get on the roof of the Starbucks in order to view the crowd of people at Pioneer Square better. (Alex Wittwer)
A massive crowd of protesters took over Pioneer Courthouse Square and listened to Black speakers for little over an hour. (Alex Wittwer)
Protesters raise fists, take a knee, as they occupy Burnside Bridge. (Alex Wittwer)

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