The #BlackLivesMatter protests that have been gaining momentum across the country these past weeks reached a frightening turning point in Portland, Oregon, recently as federal officers began showing up in unmarked vehicles and essentially kidnapping peaceful protesters. The officers have not been providing the individuals they’re detaining with any reasoning as to why they’re being arrested, NPR reports.
In an attempt to protect these (often teen or young adult) protesters from unjust arrest, a group of Portland moms hit the streets this weekend to create a human shield with their bodies. The dozens of mothers wore bike helmets, face masks, and were chanting, “Moms are here, feds stay clear.”
“Wall of Moms” organizer Bev Barnum told BuzzFeed that she created the initiative in response to this week’s random detainment of protesters by police. She’d seen video footage of officers grabbing people and taking them into unmarked minivans.
“We are about protecting peaceful citizens’ right to protest,” Barnum told the publication.
In her Facebook post organizing for the event, Barnum wrote: “As most of you have read and seen on the news, protestors are being hurt (without cause). And as of late, protestors are being stripped of their rights by being placed in unmarked cars by unidentifiable law enforcement… We moms are often underestimated. But we’re stronger than we’re given credit for. So what do you say, will you stand with me? Will you help me create a wall of moms?”
After they’d been standing outside the courthouse for a few hours on Saturday, the Wall of Moms was gassed by feds.
According to a statement by the Oregon Department of Justice, even the state attorney general believes the feds are “overstepping their powers and injuring or threatening peaceful protesters on the streets of Downtown Portland.”
That’s right: Both the state’s citizens and its justice department are in agreement that the federal government has gone too far and is stripping Oregonians of their rights. It’s time for the feds to start doing their job: protecting citizens, not gassing them.
If you’re thinking of going to a protest with your family, follow these safety tips.
Keep others safe, too — with the help of these kids face masks from Black-owned brands.
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