Two “Black Lives Matter” marches went off without disturbance in downtown Portland on Friday as hundreds of Mainers protested the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd earlier this week.
WGME reports that one protest started on Marginal Way, while another began in Monument Square, but demonstrators soon converged upon Portland City Hall, staging there and chanting several different chants referencing previous incidents across the country involving black lives lost during encounters with police.
The protests came as in Minnesota, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the arrest of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. Chauvin was the officer who sat with his knee pressed to the black man’s neck as Floyd, already handcuffed and laying on his stomach, repeatedly said he could not breathe and died soon thereafter.
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Minneapolis was racked for the third night with fires, violent protests and the torching of a police station. Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers. President Donald Trump threatened action, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which prompted a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
Things were peaceful in Portland. After reaching Portland City Hall, the demonstrators stood for two minutes in silence with their hands in the air, with organizers saying the discomfort felt in their shoulders is a reminder of the pain George Floyd felt as an officer’s knee was held into his neck, WGME reports.
The Portland Police Department released a statement Friday that they are saddened and disturbed by what happened to Floyd, and that they have training in place to prevent such a tragedy, WGME reports.