Nearly four months after the killing of George Floyd, some protesters against police brutality are taking a more confrontational and personal approach. Marches in Portland increasingly are moving to residential and largely white neighborhoods, where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support, the New York Times reports. More aggressive protests target ordinary people going about their lives, especially those who decline to demonstrate allegiance to the cause. That includes a diner in Washington, D.C., who refused to raise her fist to show support for Black Lives Matter, or, in several cities, confused drivers who happened upon the protests. The tactics are dividing supporters of Black Lives Matter, with some worried that the confrontational approach will antagonize people who would be otherwise be receptive to the message, or play into conservatives’ critique of the protests, which have been largely nonviolent. Others, frustrated that little has changed since Floyd was killed, say that sitting idly and watching a protest without participating is to show tacit support for racism.
In Rochester, protesters have confronted people at outdoor restaurants, shaking dinner tables. Marchers in D.C. accosted people eating outside, urging everyone to raise their fists to show their allegiance to the movement. The more personal tactics echo those being used against elected officials, with activists showing up not only outside mayors’ offices but their homes as well. In San Jose, Ca., demonstrators graffitied and egged the mayor’s house and lit a U.S. flag in front of it. The movement is splintered in Portland between more mainstream Black Lives Matter marches and the more aggressive, sometimes chaotic antifa or black bloc protests, where demonstrators dress in black and wear motorcycle helmets or ski masks to make it difficult to identify or prosecute them.