Far-left protesters rioted in several Western U.S. cities just hours after President Biden’s inauguration, railing against the new president while burning flags, smashing windows and tagging buildings with Antifa symbols and anti-Biden slogans.
In Portland, Oregon, they vandalizing the Democratic Party headquarters.
Antifa and Black Lives Matter militants marched through Denver, Seattle and Portland on Wednesday night chanting “f—k President Biden.” Portland protesters carried a banner reading, “We don’t want Biden. We want revenge for police murders.”
The rampages undercut Democratic claims that racial justice riots during the summer were a rebuke of President Trump.
“These far-left activists are not pro-Biden or pro-establishment,” said Betsy Brantner Smith, an executive with the National Police Association. “You won’t get a more establishment guy in the White House than Joe Biden, and they are angry.
“This is Antifa saying, ‘We are ungovernable,’” she said.
Cities across the country were on high alert Wednesday, fearing pro-Trump militias would riot against Mr. Biden on Inauguration Day. State legislatures canceled sessions, and governors took unprecedented security measures to protect state capitols.
Those fears were unfounded, and the pro-Trump riots never materialized.
With Antifa and other far-left groups putting the Biden administration on notice that they are here to stay, Ms. Smith said the new administration must forcefully condemn the violence.
“The best thing Joe Biden can do is step up to the podium and say that he supports law enforcement and abhors violence and he is going to make sure law enforcement has the resources they need,” she said.
Mr. Biden took criticism from Republicans for his tepid condemnations of the protest violence over the summer.
In Portland on Wednesday and Thursday, 15 people ages 20 to 44 were arrested. They face charges including assaulting a public safety officer, carrying a concealed weapon and rioting, the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.
One person was arrested for trying to steal a police officer’s bicycle, the police said.
About 150 protesters gathered downtown and marched to the Oregon Democratic Party headquarters. Once there, they broke windows and vandalized the building with graffiti. People moved dumpsters and lit the contents of one on fire, the police bureau said in a statement.
Protesters spray-painted an anarchist “A” on the building, an Antifa symbol.
The Democratic Party of Oregon said it was “frustrated and disappointed” about the damage.
“We’re thankful that none of our staff were in the building at the time,” the party said in a statement. “This is not the first time our building has been vandalized during the past year — none of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different.”
Later that night, protesters vandalized the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, chanting “Abolish ICE” and tagging the building with graffiti.
In Seattle, about 100 demonstrators marched to a federal courthouse, where some broke windows and vandalized the property. They set an American flag on fire outside the federal immigration court.
They also severely damaged the historic site of the first Starbucks.
The Seattle crowd decried Mr. Biden’s election, chanting “F—k Trump, f—k Biden too, they don’t give a f—k about you,” showed video posted on social media.
A woman named Anna told The Seattle Times that she was disgusted by Mr. Biden’s calls for unity.
“Calling for unity with people who actively want to harm people is disgusting,” she said.
The Seattle Police Department arrested three people in the mayhem.
Protesters also burned a U.S. flag outside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the carnage proves the far-left rioters don’t have a political goal.
“They weren’t doing it last summer because Donald Trump was president. They are doing it because they hate America,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
Some conservatives challenged Democrats to speak out against the left-wing violence.
Civil rights lawyer Leo Terrell accused “Democrats and left-wingers” of a double standard over their reaction to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol versus Wednesday’s riots.
“I’m looking for the outrage. Where’s all the outrage from the left regarding what’s going on now? I don’t understand it,” the Los Angeles-based lawyer said on Fox News.
Mr. Terrell, a supporter of Mr. Trump, said there was a “passiveness [on] the rioting that’s going on in the Northwest.”
At her Thursday press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, again condemned the pro-Trump mob that descended on the Capitol. She raised concerns about trauma to lawmakers and staffers over the attack that led to five deaths, including that of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Mrs. Pelosi said the attack justified the House vote to impeach Mr. Trump. She said people should forget neither that “people died here on Jan. 6” nor “the attempt to undermine our election, to undermine our democracy, to dishonor our Constitution.”
She made no mention of Wednesday’s violence by left-wing perpetrators, some of whom carried weapons including knives, Molotov cocktails, rocks and batons.
Protest violence spurred by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody has resulted in an estimated $1billion to $2 billion in property damage and nearly 30 deaths, among them federal Officer David Patrick Underwood in Oakland and retired St. Louis Police Capt. David Dorn.
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