A ‘Wall of Vets’ Joins the Front Lines of Portland Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. — A week after federal officers in Portland, Ore., brutally struck a Navy veteran who mentioned he had approached them merely to ask a query, a gaggle of army veterans on Friday joined the entrance strains of the metropolis’s rising protests.

Duston Obermeyer, a Marine Corps veteran, mentioned he and different veterans have been there to ensure federal officers didn’t infringe on the free speech of protesters, who numbered in the hundreds.

“Our veterans are here specifically to support the rights of the protesters to protest,” mentioned Mr. Obermeyer, who mentioned he had deployed 3 times throughout a decade in the Marines.

The group of vets lined up in entrance of a fence erected outdoors the federal courthouse. They stayed collectively till a cloud of tear gasoline scattered a lot of the crowd.

While President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly labeled the protesters in Portland as “violent anarchists,” demonstrators have banded collectively in teams. A “Wall of Moms” has grown to incorporate a whole lot of girls in yellow shirts linking arms. A “Wall of Dads” in orange shirts has included some with leaf blowers used to push tear gasoline away from the crowds. Many nurses on Saturday confirmed up in blue scrubs.

Local officers have demanded that federal agents leave the city, saying their presence has inflamed tensions and their tactics have been outrageous. One of those concerning cases was that of Christopher J. David, a Navy veteran who said he went to the protests for the first time last weekend to ask officers whether they felt their actions violated the Constitution.

As he stood still in front of the officers, one began hitting him with a baton. Mr. David said the attack broke his fingers.

Mr. Obermeyer cited that case as one of the motivations of the “Wall of Vets.”

Another veteran, Clint Hall, said he came out to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Carrying a “Disabled Veterans 4 BLM” sign, the Army veteran said the federal presence in the city had simply increased the tension.

“Things were getting better, and then they came here and made it worse,” Mr. Hall said. “Enough is enough.”

After suffering through the tear gas that was shot into the crowd, Mr. Hall said that the tear gas was so strong that it was leaving burns on his skin. He said it felt worse than the tear gas he recalled from his time in the Army.

“This response from the feds is over the top,” he said.

Source link Nytimes.com

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