The irony is delicious:
Night upon night the chant goes up in front of Portland’s federal courthouse: “Whose streets?”
The answer depends on the hour of the day. After Donald Trump sent federal agents to take control of a city he said had been abandoned by its mayor to anarchists and mob rule, the protesters still turning out in support of Black Lives Matter can make a legitimate claim that these are, as the chant goes, “our streets”.
Department of Homeland Security taskforce agents were again out firing waves of teargas and throwing stun grenades against a hard core of a few hundred demonstrators in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The confrontation centered on the courthouse at the heart of several blocks of downtown Portland that have effectively fallen under the control of the protesters after the city police withdrew.
But after pushing back demonstrators, many of them kitted out in helmets and gas masks, the federal agents retreated into their courthouse citadel to mocking jeers and women who were part of the “Wall of Moms” protest linking arms and chanting: “Our streets.”
This ritual was played out three times on Wednesday morning but the end result was the same as every other night. The DHS officers dispatched by the president to put down the demonstrations have instead become prisoners of the building they are ostensibly there to defend.
But if the intent was to intimidate the protesters into abandoning the few square blocks of downtown Portland under their control, it backfired spectacularly.
It is now the federal agents who appear under siege, reduced to defending the courthouse from attempts to break in or set it on fire. In a visible surrender of ground, the DHS taskforce has even abandoned bothering to re-erect a fence around the federal building torn down on Saturday night.
The Portland protesters have made the Feds their bitches.