Portland protests seemingly never ended. After the murder of George Floyd and citizens’ deemed mishandling of the global pandemic, the dissatisfaction in Portland, as well as in other parts of the United States, has raged for months.
Multiple injuries and even deaths were the unfortunate news in the past few months, but the shooting of Jacob Blake has apparently sparked another violent wave of protests.
Both the Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden as well as the Republican Party candidate and incumbent President Donald Trump have voiced their opinions.
Trump blamed the Democrat mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, for allowing the “death and destruction of his city”.
But Biden said the president was “recklessly encouraging violence”.
A man was shot dead in Portland on Saturday as elsewhere in the city a pro-Trump rally clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said that “Portland will never recover with a fool for a mayor”, and suggested sending federal forces to the city. He also accused Mr Biden of being “unwilling to lead”.
The full tweet states:
“The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order. The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!”
In response, Biden said: “[Trump] may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is.”
It appears that Donald Trump is heavily pushing the law and order theme, trying to create a picture of the Democratic Party and their candidate Joe Biden as soft on crime.
Earlier, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Democrats officials in Portland had allowed “lawlessness and chaos” to develop, saying “all options” were on the table to resolve the situation.
On their side of the debate, Democrats have responded by saying the violence is happening under Donald Trump’s presidency, and accuse the US leader of worsening the situation with his rhetoric.
Mayor Wheeler said it was Trump who had “created the hate and the division”.
“I’d appreciate it if the president would support us or stay the hell out of the way,” he said.
The Slain Man Supposedly Supported Far-Right Extremism
Police are investigating the shooting in the city, which has seen months of demonstrations.
“Portland Police officers heard sounds of gunfire from the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest,” Portland police said in a statement.
Oregon Live reported that “camouflage gear” with “thin blue line patches” was seen next to the body – a common sign of support for the police.
Police have not identified the dead man or specified whether the shooting was directly linked to the clashes which broke out in a downtown area.
The founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer said the victim was “a good friend and a supporter”, the Associated Press news agency reports.
The shooting came amid fights between the Trump supporters and BLM protesters in the city center.
Tension rose after a convoy of some 600 vehicles flying flags and carrying an estimated 1,000 Trump backers gathered at a mall in Clackamas County on the outskirts before entering Portland’s downtown. Disturbing videos show this organization spraying paintball bullets at passers-by as well as using pepper spray on anyone who would get into their way or otherwise.
There were even some videos of trucks attempting to run over the counter-protesters, but with no success.
Ten people were arrested over the clashes, police said.
Trump Intends To Visit Kenosha
Trump will travel to Kenosha on Tuesday, the White House said.
The president will meet with law enforcement officers and assess the damage from the recent protests.
Jacob Blake was paralyzed after being shot seven times by an officer and it is not clear if he will walk again.
The president will meet with local police and “survey damage from recent riots”, White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
Asked if the president would meet the family of Blake, Deere said the schedule had yet to be confirmed.
The US president has said little directly about last Sunday’s shooting.
When asked on Friday if he thought the officer who shot Blake should be charged, the president said: “Well I’m looking into it very strongly. I’ll be getting reports,” adding that he “didn’t like the sight of it”.
President Trump has made law and order a key part of his bid for re-election this year.
In his address at the Republican National Convention, he condemned the “rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities”, citing Kenosha and several others.