Chanting "Feds stay clear! The moms are here," dozens of women lined up to form a barrier between demonstrators and federal and local law enforcement officers in Portland on Friday (July 18).
Several participants in what is being referred to as the moms' protest said they were alarmed that federal law enforcement officers were being used to crack down on demonstrations in the city.
"This is beyond acceptable," one 60-year-old participant said, adding that the actions of federal agents was "terrifying."
Multiple videos posted online in recent days show camouflage-clad officers without clear identification badges using force and unmarked vehicles to transport arrested protesters.
The use of federal agents is part of the Trump administration's new executive order to protect U.S. monuments.
Several participants said the presence of federal agents was a deliberate effort to intimidate and shut down demonstrations.
Incredible scene in Portland right now. A group of Moms are chanting, “Feds stay clear! Moms are here!” at the federal courthouse. pic.twitter.com/gexQJJM6ck— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) July 19, 2020
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokeswoman said on Friday agents had been deployed to Portland to support a newly launched U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unit, tasked with enforcing last month's executive order from Republican President Donald Trump to protect federal monuments and buildings.
In addition to Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are helping DHS's Federal Protective Service, which provides security for federal buildings, ICE said.
Demonstrators protesting against racism and police brutality have gathered around the federal courthouse daily in Portland since the killing of African American George Floyd during a May 25 arrest in Minneapolis, with crowds at times exceeding 10,000.
Portland police used tear gas on the protesters, some of whom sprayed graffiti on buildings, until Governor Brown in early July banned its use except in the case of riots.