In the hours after President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered for a series of events across the liberal city of Portland, Oregon — not to celebrate, but to mobilize for the struggles to come.
At one demonstration, speakers denounced Biden as a “feckless puppet of the centrist Democratic establishment.” At another, crowds of anti-fascist and racial justice protesters made their doubts about the new president even more explicit, burning a Biden flag in the street. At a third event, several people smashed the windows of the local Democratic Party headquarters. “We are ungovernable,” the group’s banner declared.
While Biden has vowed to try to unify the nation and urged Americans to “stop the shouting” after a bitter election campaign, a Capitol riot and a year of unrest over racial injustices and pandemic restrictions, the first day of his presidency concluded with a scene reminiscent of many under his predecessor: Federal agents in camouflage and riot gear moved into the streets of Portland, unleashing thick clouds of tear gas.