'Surreal' Images Emerge From Portland Protests

Navy vet is beaten, a wall of moms forms, and 'Naked Athena' arrives
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2020 6:43 AM CDT

Three events out of protests in Portland, Ore., over the weekend were drawing lots of attention. They come amid controversy over the White House decision to deploy federal officers to the city:

  • Navy vet: 53-year-old Navy vet Christopher David is emerging as a social media hero among those who back the protests. On Saturday night, he showed up to question federal officers deployed to the city, and he stood his ground while being beaten with a baton and pepper-sprayed. Then he flipped off the officers. Portland Tribune reporter Zane Sparling shot this video, reports KOIN. David's hand is broken, and he may need surgery.
  • David's take: "I stood in the street in front of them and I started asking them if it was OK to violate their oath of the Constitution," says David. But he's rejecting the "hero" label. "It’s just us normal people out there,” he tells the Washington Post. "There were a whole group of pregnant moms standing out there linking arms and they got gassed. You hear people like [President] Trump say it’s just a bunch of wacko fringe people in liberal cities who are out there, but no way. We’re all just normal people who think what’s happening is wrong.”

  • The moms: David's comment about the women refers to the self-dubbed "wall of moms"—women who linked arms to form a barricade between troops and protesters, reports BuzzFeed. They showed up Saturday and in larger numbers on Sunday, per the Week. They chanted "Leave our kids alone!" and "Feds stay clear! Moms are here!"
  • Naked Athena: Early Saturday morning, a woman wearing nothing but a face mask and stocking cap turned up and stopped in the middle of a street. (See video, but warning, it has nudity.) "She stood calmly, a surreal image of human vulnerability in the face of an overpowering force that has been criticized nationally by civil rights advocates," per the Los Angeles Times. Eventually, she sat facing the officers in a yoga pose. The Oregonian notes she has been dubbed "Naked Athena," and its coverage also uses the word "surreal."
(Read more Portland, Oregon stories.)

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