No. 28August 1, 2020

Resistance Across the United States Increases
in Size and Determination

Brutal Assaults by Federal Police Forces Fail to Intimidate and Suppress Revolt

Wall of Moms at the front of demonstration in Portland, July 29, 2020.

Protesters Secure Restraining Order and
Calls to Sanction Federal Forces

To Get Out of Jail, Arrested Persons Must Agree Not to Protest

Portland Snatch and Grab Operations Practiced
During Toronto G20 Protests

- Steve Rutchinski -
Photo Review

Resistance Across the United States Increases in Size and Determination

Brutal Assaults by Federal Police Forces Fail to Intimidate and Suppress Revolt

Portland, July 25, 2020

As federal police forces remained in Portland, Oregon in the last week of July and are also being sent to Chicago, Seattle, Albuquerque, Kansas City and likely other cities, the broad resistance movement that has persisted now for more than two months following the racist police killing of George Floyd responded with yet larger and more determined actions. Demonstrations in support of Portland and demands against racist police brutality and impunity and for equality took place in many cities and towns the weekend of July 25-26. These included Oakland and Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Omaha, Nebraska; Richmond, Virginia; Aurora, Colorado and Austin, Texas. 

Actions have continued since then in many places, including Portland where many thousands of people are nightly standing up to tear gassing, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades and other violence by heavily armed federal, state and local police forces. A Wall of Vets is also a prominent feature of the resistance movement in Portland. KPTV out of Portland reports:

"The Wall of Vets says their mission and message is simple: they support peaceful protesters and are standing as a shield between them and those they say are violating those rights.

"We’ve seen the Wall of Moms, the Wall of Dads, and now, the Wall of Vets – a group of U.S. military veterans standing together as a human wall to protect peaceful protesters.

“We’re here as progressive vets and we haven’t had a voice before and I think we’re unified now to stand for what we feel is right,” said Tessa Terry, a veteran and the chapter organizer for the Wall of Vets in Portland.

She says focus needs to be turned back to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s upsetting to see what’s happening to the citizens and even more upsetting that the federal troops are here,” she said.

Her husband LeShan Terry, who is also a veteran, joins her and the other veterans out at the protests every night.

“It’s to show that it’s not violent on our side and we’re being agitated against and the Wall of Veterans who stand at parade rest is showing that you are shooting at us and we are not violent,” he said.

The two along with their fellow veterans have been taking the tear gas for more than 50 nights."

Wall of Vets, standing between police and protesters. Behind them (second photo row) stands the Wall of Moms.

The conflicts between federal and state authorities continue to express themselves. Oregon's Governor Kate Brown said some federal forces would begin withdrawing July 30, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol's special tactical team BORTAC, but despite appeals for their removal, many others will remain. Department of Homeland Security head Chad Wolf said, "The Department will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked."

July 29 saw the largest deployment of federal forces against demonstrators in Portland, including not only at the federal courthouse but marching in from two directions a block away. The federal forces were met by more than 5,000 people -- youth, workers, moms, veterans -- all calling for an end to the federal and local police violence and for their demands for change that favours the people to be fulfilled. Their level of defiance has also increased as means are developed to contend with the policing agencies.

"We came out here dressed in T-shirts and twirling Hula-Hoops and stuff, and they started gassing us, so we came back with respirators, and they started shooting us, so we came back with vests, and they started aiming for the head, so we started wearing helmets, and now they call us terrorists," one organizer said. Hockey sticks and tennis rackets have been brought into use to swat tear gas canisters back over the fence, umbrellas to ward off the gas and leaf blowers to disperse it.

While the people face brutal violence with nightly tear gassing, armed federal forces in riot gear and masks are fully protected behind an eight-foot black metal fence erected on July 22. All of this violence is meant to disperse and intimidate people, and also disrupt efforts by demonstrators to themselves affirm human rights to food, health care and to conscience and assembly.

"We're not holding our city hostage. We're saying we are the city," one organizer pointed out.

Breonna Taylor Memorial Medical
Utility Vehicle

In Portland, the people have their own trained medics, including their own emergency vehicle: the "Breonna Taylor Memorial Medical Utility Vehicle" -- named for the Black emergency medical technician (EMT) killed by Louisville, Kentucky police earlier this year. It is a MASH unit on wheels, built in the back of a used truck by a collective of Portland nurses and EMTs. It is equipped with a defibrillator, helmets and bottles of saline solution and water to counter teargas. The collective decided to start a mobile clinic that could park at the edge of protests so they could render aid to those injured within minutes and, if necessary, drive them quickly to a nearby hospital or ambulance, something they have done repeatedly for those hit by rubber bullets. Medical care is provided for free, a demand of demonstrators all across the country, especially given the COVID-19 crisis and government failures on that front.

Seattle and other cities have also established such emergency mobile medical services.

In addition, the people have organized for food to be provided for free, all secured through their own efforts. Portland's Riot Ribs, for example, with a dozen grills and regular community donations has provided burgers and ribs throughout the actions -- and repeatedly withstood the efforts of both federal and local police to disrupt them and shut them down. They have withstood being tear gassed and having their food and equipment confiscated.

There is also the Black Lives Matter snack van which provides food bars, water bottles and apples -- all donated -- for protesters to take free of charge. People are also providing laptops to help people filing for unemployment payments. "Circles of chairs" have been set up devoted to "free conversations," discussions and to provide sanctuary to artists and muralists. Demonstrators describe them as a sanctuary of love and compassion.

"When you get to the energy out here, the things they're chanting, it makes me emotional, it makes me feel wanted and appreciated and respected. It makes me feel like, for the first time in my life, I matter more than just physically," one African American said.

People across the country are organizing for yet more united actions, undaunted by both federal and local police violence and efforts to criminalize them. There is growing consciousness that existing governing arrangements at all levels are both dysfunctional and harmful. In Portland this is indicated by the agreement to have state police now work under federal police while also taking command over local police. Such a command structure is what the federal government is after while it has no intention of stopping the violence of police forces at all levels.

But the millions of people in action enjoy broad and growing support. They are demanding a new direction for the country, one that favours the majority, not the self-serving private interests of a tiny minority. The resistance is giving expression to the necessity of the times, for people's empowerment and a people's democracy and there is every indication that it will persist.

Wall of Nurses gathers for July 25, 2020 protest.

It is this united effort and striving for arrangements that affirm the human right to be and the stand that fighting as one for the rights of all is the way forward that most frightens ruling elites and why they have unleashed so many policing agencies to wipe it out. It is clear to all that the brutality and violence against the people are unleashed repeatedly, wave upon wave, to exhaust the people and wipe the resistance out. But they cannot wipe the resistance out because the will of the people to be prevails. This great moment of reckoning has within it the emergence of a democracy of the people's own making, where they decide what takes place, not those who govern from above and want the people to submit to conditions and an authority which are unacceptable to them.

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Protesters Secure Restraining Order and Calls
to Sanction Federal Forces

Part of the resistance movement in the United States is to file lawsuits against local and federal policing agencies for their excessive use of force and attacks on journalists and legal observers. Organizations in Portland recently filed a lawsuit against Portland police and federal forces.

On July 23, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon barred federal law enforcement officers from using force against journalists and legal observers. These observers have been documenting demonstrations and the excessive use of force by police, including the use of tear gas, pepper balls and spray, rubber bullets and "bean bag" munitions -- both cause serious harm and can be deadly -- beatings, and abductions. The temporary, 14-day restraining order also said reporters, photographers and legal observers were exempt from any directives issued to the general public to disperse from areas where protests are taking place. Judge Simon is also requiring that a paper or digital copy of his restraining order be provided to every federal law enforcement officer and agent in Portland, as well as to all who may be sent to the city in the future. He can also extend the order indefinitely.

The judge had previously issued a similar order to Portland police as part of the same lawsuit and has now extended it to federal forces -- something supported by city officials. A lawyer for the city said "federal forces have been moving off federal property and they've been using force that the records [show] was not proportionate and not justified under the circumstances."

The more general use of excessive force by local and federal forces was not addressed by the ruling. Another lawsuit, still pending, addresses the "overly abusive action" by federal forces against demonstrators.

On July 28, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Oregon, acting on behalf of the alternative newspaper Portland Mercury and 10 individual plaintiffs including journalists and legal activists, said federal law enforcement officers in Portland were violating the terms of the restraining order. The ACLU said that videos, photographs and witness accounts showed that federal officers shot three people, clearly identified as legal observers, in the head, neck and chest with rubber bullets or bean bag munitions. Federal forces also "purposefully" tear-gassed and dispersed journalists. They asked the court to order federal agents identified as attackers to be held in contempt, named, ordered to appear in court and banned from participating in any future armed operations in Oregon. To date this has not occurred.

Justice Department lawyers claimed the attacks on demonstrations were needed to "combat hardened rioters" and those against journalists and legal observers were "'unintended consequences' of crowd control." The judge rejected this saying, "Plaintiffs' declarations describe situations including that they were identifiable as press, were not engaging in unlawful activity or protesting, were not standing near protesters, and yet were subject to violence by federal agents." He said evidence provided by the government did not support the use of force against journalists and legal observers.

During the court hearing, the judge pressed the Justice Department on whether there is any evidence that people identifying themselves as journalists or legal observers had injured any federal officials or damaged federal property. Their lawyer said the government had not produced any such evidence.

Another federal judge based in Portland rejected a request from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to require federal officials to identify themselves when arresting or detaining suspects and to refrain from detaining people without probable cause. The judge said that Oregon had no standing to ask for the restraining order. This means the merits of the case were not addressed only that the Oregon Attorney General is not the person who can make such a request for activities taking place in Portland.

Federal forces continue to defy the courts and local and state officials to make this restraining order in Portland ineffective, like an earlier one placing a limited ban on the use of tear gas. U.S. Attorney General William Barr and President Trump continue to defend the violence and brutality, not only in Portland but in cities across the country, encouraging the disregard for court orders. They adhere to the imperialist dictum that Might Makes Right to secure presidential control over policing forces at all levels, federal, state and local.

Cease and Desist Order for Fence Erected by Federal Forces

As a further indication of the continuing conflicts among state, local and federal forces, Portland's Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) filed a cease and desist order on July 23, calling on federal agents to remove the eight-foot fence they erected around the federal court house. The order said it was put up illegally and that it impedes the city's public right of way. This includes "one of the busiest bike routes in the United States." The agency added that it has already begun assessing a maximum fine of $500 for every 15 minutes the fence obstructs the street, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. They also said they would remove the fence, though at present it still remains in place.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees PBOT, said, "This fence was constructed without permission or permits on public property, and it is both an abuse of public space and a threat to the travelling public. This illegal action will not be tolerated in our community."

It was "shameful that unnamed, unannounced federal agents would illegally erect a wall to hide from the people they are sworn to serve, and I have instructed PBOT to closely monitor the federal occupiers' actions for additional violations," Commissioner Eudaly said.

(Voice of Revolution)

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To Get Out of Jail, Arrested Persons
Must Agree Not to Protest

In an open violation of the rights to conscience, speech and assembly, federal forces in Portland, Oregon are arresting people and then only releasing them if they agree not to protest or even go near protest areas. Many are being arrested on minor charges, like "failing to obey" an order to get off a sidewalk. Then people are being forced to agree not to protest as a condition for release. Many find themselves forced to submit to this blackmail as otherwise they could remain in jail until trial, which could be weeks away, leaving their families vulnerable in their absence.

Since July 20, the federal government has sharply increased the number of protesters it is charging with federal crimes. The petty offences used are classified as federal misdemeanors only because they occur on federal property which includes sidewalks around the courthouse. Court documents show that over a third of the protesters are charged with "failing to obey a lawful order," with 14 charged between July 21 and July 24 alone. Others are charged with assault on a federal officer, though no officer is actually named.

At least 12 of those arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges. Some are barred from protests in Portland, others from any in Oregon and still others from actions anywhere in the country.

"Defendant may not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gathering in the state of Oregon," states the "Order Setting Conditions of Release" for one protester, alongside other conditions such as appearing for court dates. In at least two cases, there are no geographic restrictions. One release document instructs, "Do not participate in any protests, demonstrations, rallies, assemblies while this case is pending."

The orders are signed by federal magistrate judges who have broad authority to set the terms of release for anyone accused of a crime. They typically receive recommendations from U.S. Pretrial Services, an arm of the Justice Department, which gathers input from prosecutors and others involved in the case. It is suspected the bans on protesting were initiated by Justice Department officials. U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Billy J. Williams, for example has branded demonstrators as "violent extremists." "We're going to do what we need to do to protect federal property," Williams said.

Linking release to agreeing not to protest is also a means to further criminalize participating in demonstrations. Those involved are not charged with violent offences and it is only federal because it occurred on federal property, or at least that is what is claimed by federal forces. Release conditions are supposed to be related to public safety or risk of flight. Imposing such conditions thus implies that demonstrating is a "public safety" risk while also serving to threaten those defending rights with such bans. As continued actions by thousands show, the intimidation is not succeeding.

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Portland Snatch-and-Grab Operations Practiced During Toronto G20 Protests

Police snatch-and-grab on Eastern Avenue in Toronto during the G20 Summit, June 27, 2010.

Everything about the recent events unleashed by U.S. federal policing agencies in Portland Oregon, from the unbridled violence, to the para-military style snatch-and-grab operations, smacks of the experience at the time of the Toronto G20 in June 2010. As shocking as these actions are, it is not a matter of police inadequately trained for crowd control or some bad apples or a rogue president. These are conscious, deliberate, planned activities to suppress the people's opposition and resistance. In the current circumstances in the U.S. it is the resistance that has swept the country to state-organized racism and racist killings by police with impunity. In the context of the G20 in Toronto, it was the mass opposition to the anti-social offensive by the governments of the G20 countries.

Seeing protestors in Portland brutally assaulted, snatched off the street and stuffed into unmarked vans by unidentified assailants -- who turn out to be federal police forces under the direction of Homeland Security -- has so many parallels with what happened in Toronto in 2010. Anyone who was at the rallies out front of the makeshift detention centres on Eastern Avenue in 2010 when the snatch-and-grab operations went down will never forget it. Backed by huge numbers of riot squad police, squads of plain clothes police charged out of unmarked vans, assaulted any peaceful demonstrator in their way, grabbed "a person of interest" forced them into unmarked vans and sped away.[1]

TML Daily pointed out at the time of the G20 Summit, the events of police violence in Toronto were not an aberration but part of a developing pattern of state activity meant to block the people and workers from having their say in the society -- whether it be on the right to health care, education and other social programs, opposition to war or a direction for society that serves a pro-social aim -- and turning the situation around in their favour. The violence against the students and people of Quebec who stood up against the dictate of the Charest government and the passing of the Special Law there was further evidence of the increasing state repression against the people and their right to conscience and their collective right to organize politically.

The G20 was moved to Toronto by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to create the opportunity for a para-military exercise against the people. The G20 was just that -- a massive paramilitary exercise orchestrated by Homeland Security, involving multiple federal, provincial and municipal police forces and authorized by the U.S. as well as the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments.

There were several investigations into how it came to pass that so much police violence was unleashed against the people but no matter what wrongdoing was identified, none of those responsible was ever held accountable.

One such investigation was conducted by the Ontario Ombudsman. TML Daily wrote on December 15, 2010:

"The Ontario Ombudsman issued a damning report of the Ontario government invoking war measures legislation by regulatory Cabinet decree last summer to suppress political dissent of the G20 summit held in Toronto. The report details that police and government officials knowingly acted in violation of the rule of law, democracy and the rights of citizens and strategized how to do so with impunity. Equally damning, if not more so, is that even when they are Caught in the Act, as the Ombudsman's report is entitled, those responsible are not held legally accountable.

"... This conspiracy of government, police and other security officials to break the law, suspend individual and collective rights and unleash a wave of violence and terrorism -- which continues to this date in the unjust, trumped up 'conspiracy' and other charges against G20 protestors -- are to go unpunished!"

TML Daily continued: "The Ombudsman concluded the regulation was illegal and that the powers given to police do not even exist under the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA) because they were used not to protect public places but to suppress public dissent. In other words, by regulatory decree, the Cabinet of the Government of Ontario illegally invoked the PWPA, violated people's right to dissent and unlawfully extended extraordinary powers of detention, search and arrest upon the police.

"The investigation also reveals that both police and government officials were aware that using the PWPA as it was used during the G20 in Toronto was illegal and unconstitutional. They took great pains to hide their activity from public scrutiny."[2]

Five Ontario cabinet ministers and Toronto Police Chief Blair were never held accountable for their activities. For services rendered, Blair was rewarded with posts in the federal Cabinet, first as Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction and now as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. As well, the role of the Integrated Security Unit (ISU), comprised of the RCMP, OPP and Canadian Armed Forces (represented by Canada Command, which includes U.S. Northern Command) was dismissed by the Ombudsman's Report simply because ISU spokespersons said they knew nothing and had no responsibility for the police violence unleashed on demonstrators and pedestrians alike in Toronto. They claimed it was all a "communications breakdown" with the Toronto Police.

One conclusion TML Daily drew was that "It is clear that not one of the Cabinet Ministers involved at the federal or provincial level, nor any of the police, military and other security officials involved took a stand when circumstances called for it, to defend democratic principles, the rule of law or individual and collective rights of the members of society"

A year-and-a-half after the Ombudsman's Report was issued the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) issued its own report, on June 27, 2012, entitled Independent Civilian Review into Matters Related to the G20. The main criticism of that Review was that the TPSB did not do the job required of it, as mandated by the Police Services Act.

TML Daily summed up that report saying: "What this Review shows is that the rule of law is held in disrepute by the Canadian state. In the face of the resistance to the anti-social offensive, the Canadian state uses force and violence to criminalize the struggles of the people who are demanding their rights and the rights of their collectives. Not only must the working class and people of Toronto and Canada reject the bogus Review done for the TPSB, but continue to demand justice for the victims of the G20, continue to raise high the banner 'Let Us Together Defend the Rights of All!,' organize to renew the political arrangements in Canada and bring in a modern rule of law that protects the rights of the people from impunity."[3]

These conclusions are as fresh and appropriate today as the day they were written. Let one and all stand firm with the American people in unequivocally condemning the unbridled state-organized violence and terror being unleashed to suppress resistance to state-organized violence, racism and police killings with impunity.


1. For videos of snatch-and-grab operations at the Toronto G20 summit see:

- G20 Snatch and Grab Toronto 2010
- Police Snatch Squad At G-20 In Toronto
- Police Kidnapping in Toronto

2. See TML Daily, December 15, 2010.

3. See TML Daily, July 27, 2012.

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Photo Review

Portland, Oregon

Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California

Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California saw some of the most brutal attacks by local police and federal forces. There is a smaller force of federal agents, including ICE and Customs and Border Protection's Special Response Team in Seattle. Seattle has also sustained actions for more than two months. They too had developed an area where free food and medical care were provided, and areas for arts, music, film showings, discussion and presentations, were established. It was cleared by police July 1 but numerous actions have persisted since then. The July 25 action specifically targeted a new youth detention facility, demanding an end to criminalization and incarceration of youth.

On July 25, the amount of tear gas and pepper spray in both Seattle and Oakland was so thick one could barely see. As demonstrators have emphasized, tear gas not only causes coughing -- something everyone tries to avoid with COVID-19 -- but infiltrates the respiratory system immediately and so completely that eyes, nose, throat and skin all burn.

"The searing pain induces panic, making you gulp for air. But the air you gulp is also saturated with gas, producing more panic. You are also probably running away from police and out of the gas cloud, making breathing nearly impossible. All the while, you can barely see anything. CS gas is not just painful; it is completely disorienting and panic-inducing. It makes people choke for simply breathing, and choke harder when they try to catch their breath," medics say.

CS gas is a chemical weapon banned in war, but widely used against those fighting for their rights in the United States. Despite repeated gassing and many arrests, demonstrators persist in raising their demands for the removal of federal forces, an end to racist police violence and impunity, and for equality and human rights.

Seattle, Washington

Oakland, California

New York City

Trump has so far not sent federal forces to New York City, which has one of the largest and most militarized police forces in the country, as well as a mayor and a governor staunchly against the use of federal forces. Demonstrators there joined those across the country to stand with Portland and continue to raise demands against racist police killings and for rights.

In NYC, the large police presence included lines of bicycles and police with pepper spray. As well, police used an unmarked van and plainclothes police to "grab and snatch" an individual protesting. Those in the crowd tried to "de-arrest" her but were rebuffed by police with bicycles who surrounded the van and then proceeded to harass and threaten demonstrators. People were outraged by the provocation as it was apparent it was done to intimidate and show police will continue to act with impunity.

Police kettle protesters during New York action in solidarity with Portland, July 25, 2020.

July 30, 2020

July 27, 2020

July 26, 2020

July 25, 2020

July 24, 2020

Boston, Massachusetts

Black Lives Matter Bike Ride, July 25, 2020.

Hartford, Connecticut

Towson, Maryland

Dover, Delaware

Washington, DC

New fence going up around the White House, July 26, 2020.

Cleveland, Ohio

Beachwood, Ohio

Health care workers hold vigil, July 29,2020,  for those who have died from COVID-19 and demand proper PPE and hazard pay for all health care workers.

Chicago, Illinois

July 25, 2020

July 24, 2020

Statue of Christopher Columbus removed by officials, July 23, 2020.

Bloomington, Minnesota

Richmond, Virginia

On July 28, 2020 the George Floyd Hologram Memorial Project unveiled a hologram of George Floyd projected over the statue of General Lee in Richmond, Virginia. The hologram will be taken on a week-long tour through North Carolina, Georgia and other states along the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides. The project aims to transform spaces that were formerly occupied by symbols of the U.S.' racist past with a message of change.

Columbia, South Carolina

Federal police aim at protester.



Aurora, Colorado

Los Angeles, California

(Photos: R. Newman, B. Flight, S. Bronin, M. Mohammed, A. Lyrix, E. Kelly, Rainy Day DJ, A. Costaganis, FDR Drive Georgia D, Shutdown DC, Stop Police Terror Project, J. Potash, A. McCaffrey, We Are California, J. Grace, Veterans Against the War, SEIU, M. Guerrero, J. Montero, Solidarity Ervin, R. Majewski, S. Lim, Lauren Serpa Photos, T. Davis, V. Hano, J. Jones, Unicorn Riot, J. Rabinowitz, Reggie from the Bay, Justin Defund SPD War, A.A. Ron, Portland Independent Documentarians, Old Spdy, Killen Dave, 909 Productions, B. Nakamura, M. Jae, R. Melgarego, S. Mirk, Clypian, Green Party, B. Anderson, Justin Defund SPD War, Mimi, A. Manyo, E. Kelley)

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