Portland, Ore. — Protesters gathered April 21 in industrial Portland behind a banner that read, “Stop the U.S. War Machine,” to voice opposition to the city’s hosting the christening of new U.S. warship USS Portland. The new $1.6 billion warship will depart to Hawai’i to participate in military parades and be outfitted with Laser Weapon Systems (LaWS).
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown attended the christening ceremony and declared April 21 “USS Portland Day.” Portland anti-war demonstrators chanted, “Not in our name!”
Before marching to the riverfront, local activists Alyssa Pariah and Olivia Pace from Don’t Shoot PDX spoke about the connection between police violence at home and expanding military abroad. Mayor Wheeler has been vocal about increased support for the Portland police and is set to increase their budget by $12.7 million next year.
The Portland Committee for Human rights in the Philippines asked demonstrators what they thought the money spent on militarization should be spent on instead. Some popular responses included reparations and clean water for Flint, Mich.
Demonstrators marching to the waterfront ran into a small detachment of military enthusiasts waving U.S. flags and drowned out their chatter with chants of “Stop the U.S. war machine!” When they reached the warship, the angry anti-war group called out the mayor and the others at the ceremony with slogans like “USA! How many kids did you kill today?” and “Ted Wheeler sucks!”