President Trump condemned the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” protests in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. He called for law enforcement to arrest the demonstrators. “Put these animals in jail, now,” Trump said Monday in a series of tweets denouncing the Sunday protest. Police designated the protest as a riot, which resulted in statues of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln being knocked down.
“The Radical Left fools in Portland don’t want any help from real Law Enforcement which we will provide instantaneously. Vote!” Trump wrote, with a retweeted video showing smashed windows and graffitied walls. “The Radical Left only knows how to take advantage of very dumb ‘leadership’ fools. This is [Joe] Biden! Law & Order!” he added. And in a retweet of a video showing the Lincoln statue knocked down, Trump labeled protesters as “Biden fools” and “ANTIFA RADICALS,” saying “Get them FBI, and get them now!”
An event promoted on social media as an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” that called for the abolishment of police and an end to colonialism drew in about 200 people, NBC affiliate KGW8 reported. The protests came on the eve of the Columbus Day federal holiday, which several states and cities now recognize as Indigenous Peoples Day, after Cristopher Columbus’s violence against indigenous people.
The Portland Police Bureau tweeted about the mass gathering shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time, noting some participants were attempting to take down a statue with a chain. The police said that those “involved in criminal behavior” are “subject to arrest or citation.”
The gathering was later declared a riot after police received reports of windows being broken in “numerous buildings.” “To those marching downtown: this has been declared a RIOT,” police tweeted. “All persons must immediately disperse to the NORTH. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest, citation, or crowd control agents, including, but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons.”
Demonstrators overtook the Roosevelt and Lincoln statues in the city’s South Park Blocks, OregonLive reported. Roosevelt has been documented to have had hostility toward Native Americans, and Lincoln was president when 38 Dakota men were executed in 1862 in the largest U.S. mass execution.
Police took action about an hour after the first statue was knocked down and appeared to make several arrests. The demonstrators also smashed windows at the Oregon Historical Society before marching on and destroying storefronts.
Portland has experienced continued protests against racial injustice since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, prompting Trump to call for “law and order” in the Oregon city. The president has repeatedly condemned local leaders, accusing them of failing to control the protesters and not requesting federal assistance. In July, the president sent federal law enforcement to respond to the Portland demonstrations before withdrawing them after strong backlash.
In June protests, demonstrators knocked down statues of Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who both owned slaves.