“We wanted to symbolize that both parties are the oppressor,” said a 25-year-old protester who wished not to be identified, fearing government reprisal. “We’ve all experienced firsthand that police violence is police violence regardless (of which political party holds power). … It doesn’t make a difference to the person being beaten.”
“For White people, maybe they feel there’s time to let the administration work, but for Black and Indigenous people who have had a rope around their neck, there is no time,” the protester said. “There’s no justice, so there is no peace.”
“A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us,” Biden said. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”
“I want to dispel that White anarchists are co-opting this for their own gain,” said the 25-year-old protester, who is White and told CNN he’s lived in Portland for most of his life. “There are Black and Indigenous people out there that can’t have the same outward action as White people can.”
‘It doesn’t matter who’s president’
“There is a lot of anger and rage” over social inequity among Americans, protester Alix Powell told CNN. And vandalism is how some people express their anger, she said.
“There’s a lot of hopelessness in people my age and people I know who feel like no matter how you vote, no matter what you do, they’re not listening,” she said Thursday. “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
“It doesn’t matter who’s president: Black lives don’t matter, Arab lives don’t matter, they don’t care about us. They just don’t,” another protester of Arab descent, who also wished to remain anonymous, told CNN on Thursday.
Portland’s many months of protests
Oregon’s complicated racial tensions trace to the time of the nation’s founding. As late as 1854, the Oregon Constitution was amended with exclusionary language to keep Black people out of the state, according to a timeline published by Portland city officials.
But it wasn’t until the 1950s that Oregon began peeling back laws and rules that propped up racial discrimination in housing, schools and employment.
CNN’s Andy Rose, Dakin Andone and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.