Protests in Portland and Seattle continued again this week as demonstrators took to the streets to let the incoming administration know that they don't see a dime's worth of difference between Biden and Trump.
Protesters in the Pacific Northwest smashed windows at a Democratic Party headquarters, marched through the streets and burned an American flag on Wednesday in a strident challenge by antifascist and racial-justice protesters to the new administration of President Biden, whose promised reforms, they declared, “won’t save us.”
In Portland, Ore., lines of federal agents in camouflage — now working under the Biden administration — blanketed streets with tear gas and unleashed volleys of welt-inducing pepper balls as they confronted a crowd that gathered outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement building near downtown. Some in the crowd later burned a Biden-for-President flag in the street.
Another tense protest in Seattle saw dozens of people push their way through the streets, with some breaking windows, spray-painting anarchist insignia and chanting not only about ICE, but the many other issues that roiled America’s streets last year under the administration of former President Donald J. Trump.
“No Cops, Prisons, Borders, Presidents,” said one banner, while another proclaimed that the conflict over racial justice, policing, immigration and corporate influence in the country was “not over” merely because a new president had been inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
“A Democratic administration is not a victory for oppressed people,” said a flier handed out during the demonstrations, during which protesters also smashed windows at a shop often described as the original Starbucks in downtown Seattle. The communiqués used expletives to condemn Mr. Biden and “his stupid” crime bill, passed in 1994 and blamed for mass incarcerations in the years since.
Hours after the inauguration of Mr. Biden, federal agents in Portland used tear gas and other crowd-control munitions to disperse demonstrators who had gathered to protest the harsh arrest and detention practices wielded by federal immigration authorities under the Trump administration.
Mr. Biden has signaled that immigration is going to be a key issue of his presidency, using some of his first executive orders on Wednesday to end construction of the border wall and bolster the program that provides deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children.
The conflict in Portland capped a day of demonstrations in the liberal city, where different groups of protesters either decried Mr. Biden or called for activism to pressure the new president to take forceful action on immigration, climate change, health care, racial justice and income inequality.
Again, fair or unfair, Joe Biden will get no honeymoon as President on racial justice, criminal justice, and social justice. He has taken actions already through executive actions and priorities, but it's going to take a lot more than that to deal with America's white supremacy problem.
We've been dealing with it for 400 years now, and there's people on the left that will never find Biden acceptable, and will continue to protest him. It's too much to fix in one day of a new administration, and it's ludicrous to think that it can be fixed so quickly.
But it's also ludicrous to think that the demonstrators are going to go away quietly, either. If there's something last summer proved, it's that large-scale protests get noticed, and that they change minds. Black Lives still matter, folks. Activism matters. Disruption matters. Coverage of protests matter. Being in the spotlight matters. The root cause is still 100% there.
The problem has not been solved because Trump is gone. Police are still racist killers with military surplus equipment used on civilian populations or a regular basis. What Biden's election has done is created the space where real work can begin, but that work is going to need to accompanied by pressure every step of the way.
How Biden decides to respond to these ongoing demonstrations is completely up to him.
Black Lives Still Matter.
No matter who is president.