One hundred days, one hundred nights. That’s how long protesters have taken their frustrations and demands for justice to the streets of Portland, calling for an end to violent and racially biased policing. The 100th day of demonstrations drew smaller crowds than the movement’s initial marches in early June, but featured familiar scenes: Impassioned speeches by Black Portlanders, traffic-halting marches led by unifying chants, and a militant response by local law enforcement.
The day began with a number of family-friendly events held across Portland. At Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, volunteers doled out free pizza, snacks, artwork, and kids clothing while hundreds of attendees listened to live music and various speakers from a stage set up in the school’s baseball field. Lents Park drew a similar scene: Organizers handed out free food—and houseplants—between speeches and hip-hop performances.
By nightfall, several hundred protesters had regrouped in Southeast Portland’s Ventura Park, where organizers planned a march to Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) East Precinct, located at SE 106 and SE Stark. The group had barely left the park when they were confronted by a line of PPB officers and Oregon State Police troopers, blocking the group from marching west on SE Stark. After a PPB loudspeaker ordered the group to disperse, the street lit up with commercial-grade fireworks and several small fiery explosions—purportedly lit by molotov cocktails tossed from the crowd. The explosion caught at least one person’s clothing on fire, and nearby medics rushed to extinguished it. A number of officers also attempted to help put out the fire. Other law enforcement officers shot canisters of smoke and tear gas into the crowd, rushed at the protesters, and arrested many in the process. This scene repeated itself several times as the night went on—with the layers of tear gas drawing people out of their homes to hand out water to protesters and yell at police for spreading a toxic cloud of gas across their neighborhood. Videos captured by reporters on the scene showed aggressive arrests, where officers tackled people onto concrete and repeatedly punched protesters as they were held down by other police.
The night ended in more than 50 arrests, according to the PPB. Two of those arrested were carrying knives. In an early morning press release, PPB said that several officers were injured by thrown rocks and fireworks. Because protesters were dressed in body armor and helmets (like the police officers who met them), PPB said “it was clear that the intent of the crowd was not peaceful protest.”
Here’s a look at the 100th day of Portland protests, in images:
[Editor's Note: The Mercury would like to thank the many freelance reporters and photographers who risk their safety on a nightly basis to provide much-needed information and context for these continuing protests. We appreciate you!]