Women in Portland formed a human 'Wall of Mums' to protect Black Lives Matter protesters from federal officers

Caitlin Ochs/ReutersA group of women demonstrate outside the Justice Centre in Portland, Oregon, during a protest against racial inequality on July 18, 2020.
  • A group of mothers joined Black Lives Matter protesters in downtown Portland on Saturday and Sunday, spurred by the deployment of federal agents to the city by the president.
  • Pictures and videos show the women forming a human chain to protect protesters.
  • The leader of the group, Bev Barnum, said they hoped their non-threatening appearance would keep the feds at bay, but they were still hit with tear gas on Saturday night.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A group of about 30 women gathered in Portland, Oregon on Saturday and Sunday night to form a human chain – or “Wall of Mums” – to protect Black Lives Matter protesters from federal agents.

The leader of the group, Bev Barnum, told BuzzFeed News she was spurred to action by the recent reports of unidentified federal agents apprehending protesters in the street and forcing them into unmarked cars.

“As most of you have read and seen on the news, protestors are being hurt (without cause),” Barnum wrote on her “Wall of Mums” Facebook page. “And as of late, protestors are being stripped of their rights by being placed in unmarked cars by unidentifiable law enforcement.”

President Donald Trump’s administration deployed federal agents to Portland last week to help bring an end to more more than 50 nights of protests.

But local officials say that the federal agents have been overstepping their authority, and are only making the violence worse.

Barnum created her Facebook group on Friday, and the group gathered to protect protesters on Saturday and Sunday night outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland.

They chanted “Mums are here, feds stay clear” and held up signs with messages like “Angry mama bear BLM” and “Mums are pissed.”

On Saturday, the women wore all-white outfits, and bike helmets for safety. Barnum said she hoped their non-threatening appearance would keep federal agents from confrontations with the protesters.

“We wanted to look like we were going to Target, like normal people,” Barnum said.

“We could tell by their body language. There were two federal officers in front of us that seemed to say: ‘We don’t want to shoot ya’ll,'” Barnum added.

Caitlin Ochs/ReutersMembers of the group were exposed to tear gas Saturday night.

But the peace only lasted so long. Around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, federal agents started using flash-bang devices, batons, and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The women’s protest ended shortly after some of their members had been exposed to tear gas.

However, they returned on Sunday night, and plan to continue participating in the demonstrations going forward.

“We’ll be out until no protester needs protecting,” Barnum said.

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