Acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse Sparks Protests Across the Country

Cover photo source: @goodblackdude, Twitter

By Sarah Ahmed

Thousands of people across the United States took to the streets over the weekend to protest the acquittal of 18-year-old reactionary Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two anti-racist protesters and gravely injured a third protester last summer during protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Over 200 people gathered in Portland on Friday night for a combative protest in the downtown area. Protesters damaged doors and windows to city buildings and marked the Portland Police Department Central Precinct with graffiti. Demonstrators also tore down fencing and used construction signs as street barriers to shield themselves from the police. The police declared a riot after protesters clashed with riot police at the Justice Center, throwing water bottles and other items, and used large tree branches to block the roll-up gate from closing.

Hundreds of protesters blocked the Brooklyn Bridge after rallying at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and raised chants of “Every city, every town, burn that precinct to the ground.”

Nearby in Queens, roughly forty protesters threw garbage cans at police vehicles, ripped up American and ‘blue lives matter’ flags in the Walnut Creek neighborhood. Activists also spray-painted cars with pro-police stickers. Police made five arrests.

Protests gathered in Chicago on both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, about 100 protesters rallied near Federal Plaza and took the streets headed downtown. Police stopped the protest at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Madison Street. On Saturday, 1,000 protesters marched in downtown Chicago. They chanted “Guilty, guilty, guilty! The whole damn system’s guilty!”

In Oakland, California, roughly 100 activists marched from Oakland’s City Hall to the Federal Building, chanting “Revolution, nothing else!”

In Hollywood, California, activists smashed ATMs and windows at a Chase Bank. Graffiti was sprayed nearby, reading “Kill Kyle” and “Rittenhouse is a Murderer.”

In Raleigh, North Carolina, 75 people marched through downtown chanting, “No justice, no peace!”

In Austin, University of Texas (UT) student groups Cops Off Campus and Students For Revolution hosted a rally and march in front of the UT Tower. Students gathered for speeches and chants, showing a fighting spirit in the face of reactionary hecklers. “The State wants us to be afraid, we’re not going to be afraid,” one activist told the crowd. Attendees chanted, “From Austin to Kenosha, fists up, fight back!” while flyers were distributed by the activists to supportive passersby. 

Propaganda actions were seen in Portland, and Minneapolis. ‘Burn This’ was documented on the City of Portland Police Bureau building. A banner reading “Kyle Rittenhouse is a Murderer” was seen hanging on Minneapolis on the former 3rd Police Precinct, which was burned down during the May Uprisings last year.

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