Portland, Ore. (KPTV) – Activists formed a human fence Wednesday, using duct tape to link themselves together in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in southwest Portland.
They said they were trying to block a detention bus carrying undocumented immigrants to Tacoma, Washington.
In the end, the Department of Homeland Security said six people were detained for not complying with their warnings and blocking a federal facility.
Activists were dragged away, after using their bodies to create a human fence, chanting “Up, up with sanctuary! Down, down with deportations!”
Protester Peter Parks said, “We are linked arms in solidarity with people in detention.” Parks was the first link of the chain. He said it’s a human barricade that’s meant to block a bus moving undocumented immigrants to the regional detention center in Tacoma.
An unnamed protester said, “That is what deportation is, it’s not some blind system we don’t see, it’s hundreds of people sitting in prison for an unknown periods of time.”
Then came the warning from the Department of Homeland Security telling everyone to get out of the way. Moments later, their human-chain was picked apart.
The crowd continued to chant. Officers detained at least two people while news cameras recorded the action. In the end, a total of six people were arrested.
Police placed hoods and headphones over the protesters, officers said to protect them as they cut them apart.
KPTV watched as parks was carried away. A protester said, “Them being dragged away is a symbol for people struggling for that every day.” May Wallace added, “That’s going to happen to me, probably.” And it did. Wallace, was next to be detained.
With just two protesters from the human chain still left, the bus made its way through.
“We saw the bus go through, I started to cry, because that’s the bus carrying people,” a protester said. “People sometimes we know, being dragged away to Tacoma to be held in a prison cell.”
The bus is gone, but these protesters said, they will be back. “This is a critical time to fight for our communities.”
The End Deportations Now group says this is what needs to be done to keep families together. And what happened at Wednesday’s demonstration is exactly what they expected.