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Demonstrators March In Ashland In Solidarity With Portland Protests

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Erik Neumann/JPR
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Protesters march down Main Street in Ashland in solidarity with Portland demonstrations.

Protesters gathered in downtown Ashland on Saturday to show solidarity with nearly two months of daily demonstrations happening in Portland.

In Ashland, 200 demonstrators carried signs and banners and marched down Main Street calling for federal police to leave Portland and an end to police violence against non-violent protesters.

Leo Anifowose of Ashland came with his 10-year-old daughter to experience a protest for the first time.

“Let’s be real about this, we might be protesting about [the] federal government, but it’s just police brutality in general,” he said.

Medford resident Arlene Aron wore a yellow shirt, inspired by a group of women demonstrators now known as Portland’s “Wall of Moms”. After recently avoiding crowds because of COVID-19, she finally decided to join the protest to show her support.

“I’m a mom and a grandma, and I think what is happening in Portland is horrific,” Aron said. “I don’t want it happening any place else. So I got out my brave stick and decided to face the people and come out of my house.”

Rich Fairbanks drove 40 miles from Sterling Creek, Oregon. He worried the actions of federal officers picking up protesters in unmarked vehicles could lead to copycat assaults by people posing as police.

“I’m pretty upset about masked, unlabeled law enforcement – that’s what they say – beating up people, shooting people in Oregon!” he said.

Unlike ongoing violence in Portland, the Ashland demonstration was peaceful. Protesters marched through town with local police officers diverting traffic along the route.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.