I haven’t seen much coverage of this story, perhaps because the mainstream media is once again covering, as best it can within reason, for the anti-Trump resistance. Protesters organized by the Democratic Socialists of America shut down operations at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland, Oregon. They did so by taking over part of the grounds of the facility on June 17, in protest of administration policy at the U.S.-Mexican border.
It wasn’t until more than a week later that authorities, using riot gear, removed the protesters. By then the Democratic Socialists, going by the name “Occupy ICE,” had established a tent city reportedly consisting of more than 80 tents, four portable toilets, six couches, a commissary, and a medic’s office.
Seven protesters were arrested on charges of failing to comply with directions given by law enforcement officers and blocking the building’s entrances. They were promptly released.
An eighth protester was detained on a state charge of interfering with a peace officer. A ninth was detained after he drove his SUV near a police line and federal agents saw what appeared to be two rifles in the backseat. (Does this guy represent the next phase of the resistance?)
The protesters have now moved next door, setting up tents, etc. in an area adjacent to the ICE facility. The city says it has no intention of disturbing the protesters, who will do their best to harass and disrupt ICE for their new perch.
To me, the most surprising part of this story is that the feds allowed the Portland ICE facility to be shut down for more than a week before finally moving against the protesters. Why weren’t they forcibly disbanded within a day or two?
It’s almost certain that the Democratic Socialists or some other branch of the resistance will repeat their Portland antics at other federal facilities. The feds should have made it clear that such disruption will not be tolerated, instead of letting things ride while the protesters’ tent city took root and expanded.
It’s important, to be sure, that authorities use as little violence as possible to disband such protests. When I was protesting the Vietnam war, the leftists I was with wanted the police to bloody some of us up, so we would gain sympathy. Present-day resisters may well want the same thing.
But the likelihood of excessive-seeming police forces doesn’t decrease as time passes. Instead, it likely increases as the crowd grows and lays down roots.