I don’t know Robert Evans but he sounds like my sorta cat. A reporter specialising in conflict zones who doesn’t just fly-in/fly-out. He stays for weeks, months, as long as it takes.
He’s been covering the riots in Portland, which Trump and his enablers are hoping to turn into a Way Back When Machine for harvesting votes in the burbs come November.
Evans has a long, super fucking detailed piece in Bellingcat which will chew up half your work day. No, please. You can thank me later.
He doesn’t shy away from covering violence and tumult on the protesters side, or moments of humanity from the cops, as you can see below.
But the dark heart of his story is simple.
At a little before 11 p.m., several dozen protesters began to shatter the windows of the Justice Center. They entered the building, trashing the interior and lighting random fires inside. I watched all this happen from feet away, and it is my opinion that the destruction was unplanned, yet more or less inevitable — you could feel it in the mood of the crowd. The 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis had just burned: there was absolutely no way Portland wasn’t going to try to do the same thing.
Of course, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) arrived very shortly thereafter. In one of the more gentlemanly moments of the entire uprising, they gave a warning to people who’d brought their families and dogs, urging them to leave. A sizable chunk of more moderate demonstrators went home. A thousand or more protesters ranked up, and began shouting at the police. At a little after midnight, the PPB launched the first of what would eventually be hundreds of tear gas grenades into the crowd.
The crowd scattered, pushed by police in several different directions at once. They split into several groups. One rampaged through a series of downtown banks, shattering windows and lighting fires as they ran from the cops. Another, larger group of demonstrators tore through the luxury shopping district, sacking the Apple Store, Louis Vuitton, H&M and, eventually, looting a Target. The rest of the night was a messy haze of gas, flash-bangs, and burning barricades.
The Portland Police have stated that more than a dozen riots took place over the last fifty days, but May 29th remains the only night that truly felt like the actual people of this city were rioting.