Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson revved up hundreds of protesters Saturday night at the Portland Justice Center, recounting his time in Ferguson, Missouri and invoking the crowd to repeat Jackson’s words, chanting them back to him.
Jackson’s speech was the opener to over four hours of protesting through Portland streets, promoted as dissatisfaction over the grand jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“The fact is, for three and a half months, this was no jury of substance,” Jackson said during his speech according to OregonLive. “No jury of integrity. No real America. This was a hangman’s noose,” Jackson said to the crowd.
“Michael Brown is more alive than his killer,” KGW Portland reported of Jackson’s words. Jackson called for increased federal investigations into the Brown case and more federal intervention when police shootings occur. He indicated a need to overcome the bias he perceived, invoking the killing of Medger Evers.
“Comprehensive immigration bill, we deserve better,” Jackson called to the crowd as seen in a video of the latter portion of the event.
Jackson spoke, inciting the crowd to chant his words back to him in response. Some of the words chanted were:
…we need, an urban policy, put America, back to work… stop the wars, stop the drones… stop the killing, choose peace… don’t drop bombs, abroad, that explode, at home… racism, is destabilizing, racism, is a mental disorder… my mind, is a pearl, I can do anything, in the world, stop the violence, save the children, fair juries, fair courts, justice now… we choose life, I am, somebody… we’re gonna fight harder, we’re gonna march more, the march will get bigger, and bigger, we’ll go forward, we’ll keep Dr. King’s dream alive… Mike Brown, did not die in vain, Trayvon Martin, did not die in vain… we will not forget, they live, in our spirits, they live, raise our hands, hands up, don’t shoot, let’s embrace each other, let me hear you scream!
“I urge people in their protest to make them massive and make them persistent. Don’t just stop with this case… Too few have so much, and so many have so little, they have reasons to fight back,” Jackson said in a press conference following the event and reported by OregonLive.
Jackson ended the night with a chant of “hands up, don’t shoot” and then told protesters to “go out and save the world,” as seen on a live stream of the event.
The live-stream of the event showed protesters moving on from the Justice Center, taking to the streets in frigid temperatures. The anti-cop activist live-streaming the event spoke of earlier protests in the week and his past experience filming the “Occupy movements.” As the crowd marched, they chanted, “No Justice. No peace. What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
The live-streaming protester, listing his name as “jessehadden,” again spoke to the camera, “This is an emotional connection,” he said, “that can fuel a movement.” He continued, “What’s present here is that, that emotional rootedness.”
Around 10 pm, a protester was seen climbing up onto the roof of a police SUV. As the man jumped back down to the street, police separated protesters from the area while dealing with him.
The crowd chanted, “mic check” at 10:05 pm just before flashbang devices were discharged in the street, seemingly an attempt to move protesters out of the area.
Just before 11 pm, protesters staged a “die-in” in the middle of a street, which led police to inform the group that they were under arrest and surrounded the crowd. A few of those caught in the middle of the arrest crowd informed others that the National Lawyers Guild would help them with legal defense and gave the phone number “902-5340.” Most of those protesters were released, sent out of the area by police in small, controlled groups.
By the end of the night, 10 protesters were arrested according to KOIN 6 News.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter: @MichelleDiana.