Inauguration ends in broken glass for Oregon Democratic Party
"We don't want Biden — we want revenge!"
A banner reading that stark message was carried by protesters, spurred by the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden, as they marched once again through the streets of Portland on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
The black-clad group of several hundred marched to the Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters, 232 N.E. 9th Ave., where they smashed out at least seven windows and spraypainted messages like the circled A anarchy symbol and another missive reading "same sh--, different day."
In a statement, the Oregon Democrats said they were "frustrated and disappointed," noting that this was not the first instance of vandalism at the building — indeed splashes of unwashed paint were visible on the second floor windows before the crowd arrived — but said they were thankful no staff members were inside on Wednesday.
"None of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different," according to the release. "President Biden is already starting the work to build back better, with more than a dozen critical Executive Orders on climate, pandemic response, immigration, racial equality, and more."
Police, who had tailed the marchers at some distance throughout the event, responded eventually, and announced at 5 p.m. that several arrests and traffic stops had been made.
"We respect the rights to assembly and speak, but it must be done lawfully," said Sgt. Kevin Allen. "Criminal activity is not protected speech."
Some in the crowd headed toward Irving Park, where an apparently unrelated traffic crash saw a side-swipped SUV roll onto its side, with protesters climbing on top and attempting to break a window in order to free the occupants.
A police response is also likely as protesters have laid out intentions to gather near the U.S. Immigration and Customs facility in Southwest Portland at 8 p.m. on Jan. 20.
Democratic Party Oregon Headquarters damaged during Biden inauguration protest pic.twitter.com/TYRbTDEb0A— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) January 20, 2021
The first major clash happened just after 2 p.m. as protesters gathered at Revolution Hall ahead of their march to the DPO.
One protester told the Tribune police confiscated "their grandfather's baton," a woman said her taser was taken and the bike officers, who were often surrounded as they attempted to remove items from the crowd, told demonstrators they were confiscating "the wooden portions" of a protest banner.
"I voted for Biden, but that doesn't mean that Biden's going to do everything we need for our Black community. He still has a lot to prove to the entire world," demonstrator Teal, 22, said at Revolution Hall.
"We didn't end racism," added Princess, 20, another rallygoer affiliated with Black Unity PDX. "Racism is not going to end in our lifetimes. With this Biden administration, I don't want people forgetting that Black lives still matter."
Police deployed at least one smoke bomb as they pulled back from Rev Hall, prompting one man to extinguish the device using a squirt gun labeled "this machine kills fascists."
Fairview resident Tony carried paper mache heads of former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence during the gathering.
"I'm pro-Biden, he legitimately wants peace. That's what we want," he said. "But if we can't get justice, why do we need peace?"
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