Protesters topple George Washington statue in Portland


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A quiet evening of demonstrations for racial justice and police reform in Portland ended with the razing of a George Washington statue on the eve of Juneteenth.

Thursday marked the 21st day of protests in Portland sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Two groups — Rose City Justice and Lavender Caucus — hosted a sit-in rally at Jefferson High School in the evening where community members shared their experiences with racism to a crowd of a few hundred. The group did not hold a march.

A separate group of about 20 people met at NE Sandy Boulevard and NE 57th Avenue around 10 p.m. at the site of a large bronze statue of George Washington. Some wrapped the statue’s head in an American flag and lit the flag on fire. Their numbers grew over the next hour until there were enough people to pull the statue to the ground. They quickly scattered. A KOIN crew found the statue face down and covered in graffiti. Portland police arrived a short time later.

Photos: Portland’s 21st night of protests

On the other side of the river, a small crowd of demonstrators stood outside of the Justice Center. They moved on after a short time and stopped near the Apple store in Southwest Portland but dispersed before midnight. Some said they wanted to rest ahead of Friday, which is Juneteenth.

Thursday’s events followed a peaceful march on Wednesday in which a large crowd marched through the streets of downtown Portland — eventually ending up in the Pearl District where they tried to set up a so-called “autonomous zone” outside Mayor Ted Wheeler’s residence.

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