A group of over 30 women formed a 'wall of moms' to protect hundreds of protesters from federal officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Oregon, during the weekend.
In the videos of the incident that has gone viral, crowds can be heard chanting, "Feds stay clear, moms are here!" and "Feds go home!" In the images and videos, several women dressed in white and wearing bike helmets can be seen with their elbows linked.
Incredible scene in Portland right now. A group of Moms are chanting, "Feds stay clear! Moms are here!" at the federal courthouse.— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) July 19, 2020
According to reports, Bev Barnum, a 35-year-old from Portland, organised an event on Facebook, "calling all moms to do what they do best– protect people."
On Saturday and Sunday, the women stood for hours in front of the city's federal courthouse, which has become a flashpoint of the conflict between protesters and the officers.
"We tried in earnest to give the kids a break by shifting the pervasive narrative that protestors are rioters ...To be clear, we moms weren't armed, throwing rocks, throwing water...THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN," Barnum told The Independent.
Last night after getting gassed and shot at by the feds, I swore I wasn't going back to protest again — but when I heard about a gathering called Wall of Moms, I couldn't stay home. #fedsout #blacklivesmatter #wallofmoms pic.twitter.com/m30aGQAthZ— Julia Peattie (@repeattie) July 19, 2020
"We were gassed for chanting 'Leave The Kids Alone.' I want you to think about what's happening in this country and ask yourself how you're going to help change it," she added.
Barnum also connected with Don't Shoot Portland, a Black-led advocacy group that has been fighting for social change in Portland since 2014, who helped her and other moms for protesting safely.
For nearly seven weeks, Portland has seen mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd's death had sparked 'Black Lives Matter' protests across the globe.
Last week, US President Donald Trump and his administration deployed federal agents to tackle protests in some cities. However, the deployment of federal agents has escalated tensions.