PORTLAND, Ore. (Aug. 20) — A woman says to her 5-year-old son on the TriMet MAX light rail train headed for the city, “No, you don’t have to wear those glasses unless you’re looking at the sun.” He had put his eclipse glasses on a day early, of course, but given the flashing marquees and traffic delay warnings on display all around here about the eclipse, it’s hard to blame him. This morning, though, just after sunrise, he was headed to the city center, where anti-white supremacy activists marched yesterday.
Those marchers joined others around the country to raise their voices, mainly peaceful and unarmed voices, against neo-Nazis and white supremacy in general, a movement that held a rally a week ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned into a street brawl and resulted in injuries and a death. The marches yesterday, from here to Boston and many places in between, were mostly peaceful and without incident, thanks mainly to effective police work.
The anti-Trump character of the counter-protests is hard to deny. “No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump,” marchers shouted in Portland. “Whose bridge? Our bridge!”
The march here started on the Hawthorne Bridge and brought, once again, epic triumph in civil rights to Portland’s center. It’s no Boston Tea Party, but both support and criticism for US politics has been vocal and strong from this city.
Before he was elected president in 2008, Barack Obama came here and a huge crowd turned out to hear him speak at Gov Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the river. At the time, it was the largest crowd he had drawn in his campaign.
It’s “fair to say this is the most spectacular setting for the most spectacular crowd,” he told the crowd, according to a report in the New York Times.
President Donald Trump has responded to the anti-white supremacy marchers, tweeting that sometimes it’s necessary to protest in order to heal.