Anti-Trump protests in Portland erupt into mayhem
What started out as a peaceful protest against President-elect Donald Trump in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Thursday night erupted into mayhem. Dozens of protestors smashed car windows at an auto dealership and chased a Jeep that was flying both an American flag and a Trump campaign flag. The protestors succeeded in partially destroying the vehicle.
Thousands of people from the LGBTQ community, an anarchist collective, Black Lives Matter, and other groups took to the streets for a second night at around 5 p.m. for a vigil to talk about the outcome of Tuesday’s election and their fears about a Trump presidency.
It was part of a wave of anti-Trump protests that has swept across the country since the election. Trump took to Twitter Thursday to condemn it.
Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2016
Oak Sonfist, who joined the LGBTQ protesters earlier in the evening, told VICE News she felt compelled to join the Portland march because she has had nightmares for the past two nights.
“We’re not OK with our president,” Sonfist said. “I don’t even know if I want to call him our president. We’re not OK with Donald Trump representing us. I feel not safe in my country as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community. I felt I just had to do something and I’m going to keep going out until something changes. This is not OK. I’m so terrified that my rights are going to be stripped over the next four years.”
The crowd marched toward Pioneer Courthouse Square chanting “Whose streets? Our streets” and “Fuck Donald Trump.” Others held signs reading “Love Trumps Hate” and “Fuck Trump.”
As the protests escalated, some of the marchers — called anarchists by LGBTQ protesters with whom VICE News spoke — smashed car windows at a nearby Toyota dealership and spray-painted “Kill Trump” on newspaper boxes. Some protesters smashed windows of businesses and even took to the roof of a McDonald’s on Northeast Grand.
Dozens of Portland police dressed in riot gear arrived in unmarked SUVs. They told the throng of protesters, some of whom were wearing Guy Fawkes masks and blocking traffic, to disperse. Police considered the demonstration a riot due to “extensive criminal and dangerous behavior.”
VICE News captured one such incident on film.
At about 10:30 p.m., a Jeep caked in mud and flying a Trump flag and an American flag drove past Pioneer Courthouse Square. One protester spotted the vehicle and began chasing it. Then dozens more followed.
A woman confronted the male driver of the Jeep and asked why he was supporting Donald Trump.
“The last time there was a Republican sweep, we went into the Great Depression,” the woman said, referring to Tuesday’s trifecta that saw Republicans gain control of the White House and maintain their holds on both houses of Congress. “I don’t know why you just drove through the protest, because you know it will make people angry.”
One protester then smashed a headlight on the Jeep and another attempted to smash the windshield as the passengers of the car filmed it and the driver tried to leave. The woman implored the crowd to stop. The driver sped away, but he was able to make it only another block before hundreds more people surrounded the car.
A protester threw a smoke bomb inside the vehicle and spray-painted “Fuck Trump” on the passenger door of the vehicle.
At 11:30 p.m., police blocked off Southwest 6th Street and prohibited protesters from continuing to demonstrate, saying it was time for everyone to go home. But the protesters refused and, emotions flaring, many in the crowd went toe-to-toe with the police, who then used flash bangs and smoke projectiles to disburse the crowd. There were several arrests and one person was injured.