- A ‘wall of vets’ joined the front lines of protests in Portland, Oregon Friday, the New York Times reported.
- The military veterans joined the protests to support protester’s rights to free speech one week after a navy veteran was struck by a federal officer after approaching them to ask a question, according to the report.
- The veterans formed a line in front of a fence outside a federal courthouse and stayed there until tear gas broke up the crowd.
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A wall of veterans joined the front lines of protests in Portland, Oregon on Friday to support demonstrator’s rights to free speech, Mike Baker of the New York Times reported.
The “Wall of Vets” joins other groups that have joined together to protect protesters, including “Wall of Mums” and “Wall of Dads.”
The veterans lined up together in front of a fence outside the federal courthouse, the Times reported. They stayed there until tear gas broke up the crowd.
There have been ongoing protests in Portland for two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. In the last two weeks, protesters have clashed with federal agents deployed by President Donald Trump to quell the protests over police violence.
Local officials including Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have called for the federal agents to leave the city, saying actions including use of tear gas, force, and pulling protesters into unmarked vans is making things worse.
In one incident, federal agents hit Christopher J. David, a navy veteran, with a baton and sprayed him with pepper spray after he asked them if they felt their actions violated the constitution, the Times reported.
The incident was one of the reasons the wall of veterans was motivated to form, Duston Obermeyer, a Marine Corps veteran, told the Times.
Early Sunday, the police declared a riot in downtown Portland after protesters toppled a fence surrounding the federal courthouse during a night of protests. Federal agents then “deployed multiple rounds of tear gas,” The Oregonian reported.