Armed with leaf blowers to combat the tear gas set forth by police, Portland dads joined the call for an end to police-sanctioned violence against Black people.
The city of Portland, Oregon, has been in a state of unrest ever since President Trump signed an executive order to patrol cities in the wake of ongoing demonstrations. While those dissenting were harassed, shot at, and assaulted with tear gas, it was also reported that some protesters were being removed from the streets in unmarked vehicles. Retaliating to the extreme use of force against peaceful protesters, a group of local moms took to the streets this week to stand, arms linked, between armed federal agents and demonstrators. Joining the 'Wall of Moms' were Portland's dads, armed with leaf blowers to combat the tear gas set forth by police and to call for an end to police-sanctioned violence against Black people.
In fairness, #Portland’s dads have been turning out more and more as well. The moms wear yellow, the dads are in orange. You can see these colors all over this crowd. And there are hundreds and hundreds of people here. #PDXprotests #DadBloc #Momtifa pic.twitter.com/INHEeamVT4— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) July 22, 2020
An older gentleman in the crowd is projecting this onto the Justice Center. Another older man asks him, “So what’s the lumens on this?”— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) July 21, 2020
(Did we mention the Dads are out tonight?) pic.twitter.com/l1iyRs0Qx3
Photos and videos posted on social media show the dads clad in orange shirts holding signs that say, "FATHERS AGAINST FASCISM," "Feds go home," and "Knock it off!—Dad." Their gathering seems to have been organized by the "PDX Dad Pod," which put out a call to put "dad bods on the line to stop fascism." The group that welcomes "all papas, fathers, Femme Daddies, butches, uncles, big brothers, and anyone that owns cargo shorts," tweeted earlier this week that "we're here to destroy white supremacy and the carceral state—with corny jokes, noogies, and some real talk!!"
The Wall of Moms, who have been repeatedly gassed, have now been supplemented by the Dads with Leaf Blowers, who are using the blowers to send the tear gas right back at Trump storm troopers. We love you PDX! https://t.co/gBgDL6kNS7— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) July 22, 2020
The official PDX Dad Pod Twitter account has been putting out calls for action every day this week, urging demonstrators to show up with "electric leafblowers to disperse the gas and something to protect your noggin." The profile also directed netizens towards their nearest hardware store to "support your local biz and buy a cordless leaf blower," and called on everyone to "come stand up for your town, your neighbors, your kids. Look for the other orange shirts, use the buddy system. And remember, safety first."
Netizens praised the city's maternal and paternal figures for showing up for the Black Lives Movement and helping demonstrators face the increasingly violent law enforcement forces. For the 1st time last night, the Portland Dad Brigade came out to protest. Everyone in orange is a Dad. Moms around the country are organizing local Walls of Moms. Dads around the country, we need you too, wrote Twitter user Joshua Potash, sharing a video of the moms and dads in action. Never thought I would enjoy watching dads use leaf blowers. Then I watched the portland protests, tweeted @bIueroyaIs.
Federal officers have emerged from the courthouse. Tear gas in the streets, and some of the Portland Dads (part of "PDXDadPod") have emerged with leaf blowers. (photos by @killendave) pic.twitter.com/W5JlIJzBbz— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) July 23, 2020
“Leafblower Dads” joining Portland Moms https://t.co/EIHJlhANmh— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) July 22, 2020
After the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) heard about the use of leaf blowers against tear gas, an official within the department told Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff that they were frustrated and astonished by the demonstrators' actions. One DHS official we spoke to expressed frustration and astonishment that Portland protesters were showing up with leaf blowers to disperse tear gas and send it right back at fed agents, Miroff tweeted. Speaking to Truthout, a protester who goes by the alias "Doug Smith" said: "This dad expresses disdain for Trump using so-called 'elite' border patrol agents to brutally assault and abduct peaceful American people in an American city."
Downtown for #DadBloc tonight. The dads of Portland are here to say "KNOCK IT OFF!" to the cops and feds who are acting up.— Troy Howard / Executive Chef for Antifa (@thoward37) July 21, 2020
I'm here for every Black dad that was killed by a cop or jailed for a trivial crime.
I'm here for every Black dad who has lost their kid to killer cops. pic.twitter.com/MTGvgsx3zS
Out here with the moms and dads if Portland manifesting dissent against racistpolice and federal boots on our streets. pic.twitter.com/u1NS3AYBmE— Alexander Reid Ross (@areidross) July 21, 2020
Smith also explained that the leaf blowers would be more effective in countering the tear gas if more protesters showed up with them. "Honestly, I think you'd need scores of leaf blowers with a phalanx of dads holding their ground under pretty perfect conditions to use them effectively in the dispersal of chemical agents," he said. "But they are an iconic symbol of a tool dads use to clean up messes."
our democracy is being destroyed by people who lost a battle of wits to a leaf blower https://t.co/GLEJTXMBQF— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) July 21, 2020
Give me the confidence of a DHS official who thinks he can run the secret police but can't even be bothered to google how protesters handle tear gas in 2020. https://t.co/X9JGQS76Tj— Keith Calder (@keithcalder) July 21, 2020