Leaders of Portland’s protest community accused Mayor Charlie Hales of engineering their arrests this week because he’s fed up with their brand of activism, The Oregonian reports. In a tumultuous day of traded statements and accusations, anti-Trump protesters mostly kept off the streets and instead launched a war of words aimed at Hales and police. Hales canceled a March of Hope, blaming a planned counter-protest that he worried would disrupt the family-friendly rally. The bad blood had been building steadily since the election of Donald Trump led to sometimes-violent protests that put Portland on the map as one of the nation’s most cantankerous pockets of dissent.
Key figures in the two-week-old movement that calls itself Portland’s Resistance said that irritation culminated Monday evening when police officers closed in on three of them, suddenly handcuffing them before carting them off to jail for no legitimate reason, they said. They were soon released. Micah Rhodes, one of the arrested leaders, said police targeted him and two other activists because the city wants them to stop. The protests have brought thousands of people to downtown Portland, filling city streets and freeways, sometimes bringing them to a standstill. “Portland has been deemed the center of the Trump resistance,” Rhodes said. “There’s been a lot of media coverage. The world is watching. They’re trying to shut us up … because it’s making them look bad.” More than 120 people have been arrested during the demonstrations.