Tense scenes unfolded at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday as armed protesters attempted to force their way into the statehouse only to be met by armor-clad officers in riot gear, who deployed less-lethal weaponry to suppress the unruly crowd.
Members of a broad range of right-wing organizations, including the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, gathered in Salem, Oregon, to protest against ongoing coronavirus restrictions. Many of the protesters held “Thin Blue Line” banners and flags supporting President Donald Trump, while a number of demonstrators were armed with long-barreled rifles and pistols. One protester even carried a pitchfork with an American flag attached.
Lawmakers were holding a one-day emergency session closed to the public to discuss aid efforts related to the pandemic, including relief for landlords and tenants, vaccine distribution, and continued efforts to recover from the horrific fires that the state experienced earlier this year.
Protesters expressed rage over coronavirus restrictions, angry about the impact that lockdown measures have had on their jobs and schools. Members of the crowd called for the arrest of Gov. Kate Brown.
Tensions came to a boil early in the day as one woman attempted to climb through a window to enter the government building before Oregon State Troopers repelled her, reports Daily Beast. At that point, the troopers were chased off by the raucous crowd, including many who carried rifles.
“I’m here to support the constitutional rights of people and of Oregon business [owners,]” a protester who identified himself as Duane told the news outlet. “These people are unemployed and their lives are being ruined by this situation and most importantly by a government that seems to have taken totalitarian views.”
The crowd was eventually able to invade the lobby of the statehouse before Oregon State Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly, using mace and pepper bawls in an attempt to prevent them from taking the entire building.
“We’re not gonna give up this easily, everybody come in!” one protester who was armed with a knife and wearing a bulletproof vest screamed while entering the lobby. “This is our state. This is our building.”
Protesters also sang the national anthem while demonstrators with long guns ran around maneuvering and waving protesters over to what they believed were open entrances.
“We are now declaring this area a patriot autonomous zone,” one protester said over a bullhorn as they coordinated the pulling-down of fences. “If Antifa can do it so can we.”
Riot police eventually arrived in large numbers and were able to expel the crowd from the Capitol building, drawing angry responses from the crowd. Many yelled that they had once been fervent supporters of law enforcement at anti-Black Lives Matter counterprotests and “Back the Blue” rallies, but that this would no longer be the case.
“You are traitors to the American people,” one protester shouted at troopers and police.
Amidst the chaos, some enterprising vendors were still selling patriotic-themed merchandise and Donald Trump-branded items such as flags, MAGA hats, and t-shirts.
While chaotic scenes unfolded around the Capitol building, the legislature hardy fared better as it discussed relief efforts and whether restaurants and bars could serve cocktails to go.
At one point, Republican Sen. Dallas Heard denounced a proposed statewide mask requirement as being pushed by elected officials who had enlisted in a “campaign against the people and the children of God,” reports OPB.
“If you had not done such great evil to my people and had simply asked me to wear my mask, I would have,” Heard thundered after dramatically tearing his mask off. “But you commanded it, and therefore I declare my right to protests against your false authority and remove my mask.”
Oregon is currently facing the highest number of coronavirus infections since the outbreak of the pandemic. At least 1,341 people have died while roughly 103,00 have been infected in the state. Under the governor’s orders, many counties are facing mandatory restrictions including a ban on indoor dining at restaurants.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.