Portland Protests Will Resume Friday Night After Brief Hiatus During Wildfires

“Now that the air has cleared, protests will resume.”

A protester bangs a drum in front of squad cars in Southeast Portland on Sept. 5. (Alex Wittwer)

Portland protests against police brutality will resume Friday night after pausing for about a week as wildfires destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres statewide.

Protest organizations, including the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, announced on Twitter plans to protest beginning at 7 pm in downtown.

"It's been a hot second PDX so y'all better show the fuck up," PNW Youth Liberation Front tweeted Sept. 18. "Meet: 7 pm Move: 8 pm. Be water, Spread fire, Melt ice."

After 104 nights of continuous nightly demonstrations, Portland protests were halted last week in response to the wildfires and hazardous air quality.

Olivia Katbi Smith, co-chair of the Portland Democratic Socialists of America, said the decision to pause protests was a political response to the wildfires that ravaged the state. Many who had been involved in Portland's protests switched gears for the week to help those fleeing fires through their mutual aid fund.

"The protests were put on pause because we are living in a climate emergency, and unprecedented wildfires created conditions that made street protest impossible and emergency mutual aid work became our priority," Katbi Smith said in an email to WW.

Starting tonight, activists will resume fighting for their demands, despite the rain and residual smoke that remains.

"Now that the air has cleared, protests will resume because our mayor has failed to heed the demands we've been making all summer: to defund the Portland police," Katbi Smith said. "Resuming protests will also focus on [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], which is part of the police state under which we live—as so many crises escalate in the U.S., we must work to dismantle all parts of the system of racist, capitalist oppression."

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