Angela Foster started showing up in the early days of the protests in Portland as one of the novice activists standing off to the side with no gear to protect herself.
Roughly 40 demonstrations later, she has moved toward the front, wearing a mask, goggles and a helmet, and bracing for law enforcement officers to charge at her.
“We’re not leaving,” Ms. Foster said in an interview on Sunday.
While President Trump on Sunday described the unrest in Portland as a national threat involving “anarchists and agitators,” the protests have featured a wide array of demonstrators, many now galvanized by federal officers exemplifying the militarized enforcement that protesters have long denounced. Gatherings over the weekend grew to upward of 1,000 people — the largest crowds in weeks.
Some protesters have exhibited the lawless behavior that federal officials have cited to justify their crackdown: Some have thrown cans and bottles, shot fireworks or pointed lasers at officers. One was recently accused of hitting a federal officer with a hammer. On Saturday, protesters set a fire in the police union headquarters.
But many others have demonstrated in the streets through peaceful means, appalled by the aggressive responses by federal officers that have left some protesters injured and the air inflamed with tear gas. They have held signs and marched. At times when people have thrown bottles, other demonstrators have rushed to try to stop them. On Saturday, a group of women locked arms and chanted: “Feds stay clear. Moms are here.” [Continue reading…]