Activist’s arrest in Portland galvanises Black Lives Matter

Activist’s arrest in Portland galvanises Black Lives Matter
Racial Injustice Portland

The arrest during a protest in Portland, Oregon, of a black woman who became a leading activist in the racial justice movement after she was assaulted by a white supremacist three years ago has galvanised Black Lives Matter groups.

Demonstrators took to the streets again on Monday night and police broke up a protest outside a police precinct substation after they said protesters shined strobe lights at officers and hurled eggs and water bottles at them.

Nine people were arrested when clashes broke out at the protest that lasted into the early hours of Tuesday morning, with some protesters throwing rocks and golf balls in the mayhem. One officer suffered an arm injury in a scuffle for which she was treated and released from a hospital, Portland police said.

Portland has endured more than two months of often violent, nightly protests since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, including weeks of clashes between protesters and federal agents dispatched to the city by US President Donald Trump to protect a federal courthouse that was a focus of the demonstrators.

Authorities said the prominent activist, Demetria Hester, will not be charged following her arrest after a protest that started on Sunday night and turned violent outside the union headquarters for Portland’s police.

Ms Hester, 46, had been arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer during the protest. Ms Hester’s arrest drew a sharp rebuke from national Black Lives Matter activists, who are increasingly focusing on demonstrations in Oregon’s largest city.

After her release, Ms Hester told reporters that she would keep protesting and joined others in announcing plans for a fundraiser to send Black mothers to Washington, DC.

Ms Hester said: “I was born and bred to do this. This is a dream come true. This is a revolution and we’re getting reparations.”

Ms Hester and 15 other people were arrested during Portland’s 73rd consecutive night of protest, when a group of around 200 demonstrators gathered at a park and then marched to the union headquarters building, where some people set fires outside the building and launched fireworks at officers.

Two officers were injured, including one who was burned on the neck when a firework exploded, police said. Police declared that the event was a riot shortly after 10pm and began arresting people, including Ms Hester.

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