A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Portland led to the arrests of several protesters after they blocked one of the city’s busiest intersections for nearly three hours.
At a late night press conference, the Portland Police Department announced that 18 protestors had been arrested throughout the night. [Watch: Periscope video of the press conference from our media partner, WGME.]
— Kaitlyn Anderson (@kait_anderson_) July 16, 2016
From roughly 7:30 pm until the arrests around 10:30 pm, a small group of black women stood in the intersection of Commercial and Pearl streets encircled by roughly 20 white demonstrators with their arms linked.
While there was a police presence at the event through the evening, it did not become confrontational until officers moved in to disperse the group, handcuffing several of the young female organizers and pushing them into the back of a police wagon.
Eighteen people were arrested for blocking a public way, police said.
The event was billed as a memorial to the two black men killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota last week and began with two of the women who were eventually arrested reading a list of demands addressed to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.
The protest started with around 100 people milling in Lincoln Park for an hour, before the group eventually marched three blocks to the intersection they obstructed. Over the three hours on the busy street, there were several confrontations between the protesters and other residents of Portland.
At one point a shirtless man who appeared intoxicated began a shouting match with the group, screaming, “all lives matter” to returning cries of “black lives matter.” In another tense moment, one of the organizers began a chant directed at local news blogger Carol McCracken demanding she move away from where the group was gathered at the center of the intersection.
“If you’re a white ally, we need you to take care of her,” one of the women who would eventually be arrested called into a megaphone.
Later on, a driver attempted push his SUV at a low speed through a group of women standing with their arms locked. As he gradually accelerated they shoved back, refusing to yield for more than a dozen feet, until police officers intervened pulling people out of the way as the driver sped up. Officers stopped the driver and had him exit his vehicle a block away from the center of the protest and spoke with him for several minutes before he was eventually allowed to drive away.
The protest continued even after the arrests, according to posts from journalists and demonstrators on social media.
Portland protest continues in front of police station.
— Ed Murphy (@EdMurphyPPH) July 16, 2016
This post will be updated.