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Portland protesters call for positive changes, de-escalation of violence

Portland, US: Protesters in the U.S. city of Portland have camped outside the federal courthouse amid continuous conflicts, saying what they want are positive changes and de-escalation of violence.

Protests against police brutality and racism have been going on in Portland for over two months following the death of George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody late May. Severe conflicts between protesters and federal law enforcement officers occurred almost every night outside the city’s federal courthouse. In the daytime, when staff from the court were busy reinforcing the fence around the building, some protesters on the other side of the road were putting up tents and distributing necessities to other participants and even the homeless.

"We make these bags, so like this bag, it contains like alcohol wipes, face masks, deodorant, tampons. It's free, yeah. So that way they can take care of themselves because some of these people are homeless. These are like self-care products. And then we got toothbrushes, toothpaste. There's food over there so that way they can eat for free. Everything out here is just being distributed for free," said Vil, a protester.

Vil joined the protest five days ago. He works in a tent to provide emergency medical care for injured people during the protests.
"Yeah there have been a few injured people. Some people had to go to the hospital. I've seen that there was a guy just earlier this morning who has suffered a lacerate over his eye, and stuff like that," he told China Central Television reporter.

Protesters placed simple donation boxes in tents. The drinkable water, food, masks and medical supplies at the site are all donations. The tents suffer attacks of tear shells and rubber bullets every night as it’s too close to the court. Brian King is a veteran and he comes to protest almost every night. King said he has been attacked many times and has collected some tear shell and rubber bullets used by federal law enforcement officers.

"If they're doing it to one individual, they're doing it to us all. And we all have a constitutional right," he said. A protester who did not want to give her name said she was disappointed seeing the escalating conflicts in the past two months. "They take an oath to protect us, when in reality I think that the oath is called for 'kill all people of color'. And that's the problem," she said.

Vil said they don’t want to see the violence occurred every night. He hopes that the confrontation will end peacefully, and the federal law enforcement officers can rethink how to improve their way of work and treat vulnerable groups correctly.

"People who don't have the experiences don't really know. But like if you experience police brutality, you know what's up with it. So we hope they can get that resolve. Probably do more training on de-escalation of violence so that it doesn't heightened up. They just need to get people from the neighborhood, from the community, stuff like that. Positive changes," said Vil.

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