How Violence at Protests Escalates

Last night, the Mayor of Portland joined the protesters in the streets of the city and was teargassed by “federal law enforcement” deployed by the President.  Here’s a great thread by Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang with video of the night and here’s another thread that puts last night in perspective by Sergio Olmos who has been out every night documenting the protests.

As the videos clearly show, the crowds in the streets are diverse, including a “wall of moms” and dads with leafblowers who have been trying to clear the air of teargas.  Moreover, there’s no evidence that these federal enforcers who have been shooting teargas and rubber bullets at the crowds, and beating protesters with batons have reduced the size of the protest.  In fact, based on video footage that is circulating on social media, the numbers have grown substantially.

The President has announced that he is sending these same forces to other cities to “enforce the law.”  As of last night,  “about 200 federal agents, drawn from across the Justice Department” are being deployed in Chicago and Albuquerque.  Based on what we’ve seen in Portland, citizens in the cities will respond to being attacked by law enforcement with confrontation (like walls of moms) and aggressive tactics (like sending teargas canisters back to the source with blowers or even hockey sticks).  In Washington, DC, a number of groups are calling for a march in solidarity with Portland on Saturday.

Given the mounting evidence that this type of federal law enforcement in US cities will escalate the violence and the crowds, one has to wonder what, exactly, is the end goal?