Lillard on anti-Trump protests: ‘Tearing apart’ Portland not ‘the solution’
Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States has evoked a number of loud, strong reactions, including some that have gone beyond the spoken word. Many of those who opposed the Republican nominee have taken to the streets in a number of American cities over the last five nights, protesting the election of a candidate whose campaign they found dehumanizing, racist, homophobic, misogynist and xenophobic, and who has been accused of sexual assault by some 15 women. [restrict]
While protests in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Oakland, Calif., and others have largely been peaceful, the demonstrations in Portland, Ore., have at times boiled over. Portland police characterized Thursday night’s protest, which included marching demonstrators shutting down area freeways, as “a riot” after reports of vandalism, property damage, aggressive behavior, heated arguments and altercations, as well as the ignition of a dumpster fire downtown and some protesters reportedly throwing objects at police. Police responded by arresting dozens of protesters, and using “less lethal munitions” — flash bangs, “some kind of gas” and rubber bullets — to disperse crowds.
The tensions continued through Friday night, with one man getting shot on the Morrison Bridge and suffering non-life threatening injuries early Saturday morning. Police later arrested two men in connection with that shooting, believed to be the first to occur during an anti-Trump protest.
The ongoing demonstrations, and the violence associated with them, have troubled Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, who questioned the efficacy of protesters’ actions during a Saturday interview with ESPN’s Chris Haynes:
“I think it’s very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done,” Lillard told ESPN on Saturday. “I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn’t the answer.” [/restrict]