‘Naked Athena’ in action in Portland

Protester dubbed ‘Naked Athena’ strips off and dares police to shoot her with tear gas during tense stand-off in the 50-day ‘Battle of Portland’

By Sophie Tanno For Mailonline

Published: 06:54 EDT, 20 July 2020

A protester dubbed ‘Naked Athena’ confronted Portland police wearing only a face mask and beanie. 

The unidentified woman struck a series of ballet and yoga poses in front of anti-riot officers at around 1.45 am on Saturday morning. 

Surreal video footage from the scene shows the woman striding towards the officers, who were in heavy protective gear including gas masks and helmets, almost completely naked. 

Oregon state law is pretty lenient on public nudity, and in Portland it is only illegal to be naked in public with the intent to arouse. 

The standoff comes after the city of Portland marked its 50th consecutive night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, with crowds taking to the streets to denounce racial injustice. A protester dubbed 'Naked Athena' confronted Portland police wearing only a face mask and beanie

A protester dubbed ‘Naked Athena’ confronted Portland police wearing only a face mask and beanie

The woman is then seen lying on the pavement as she strikes another pose in front of federal officers 

Surreal video footage from the scene shows the woman marching towards the officers

Surreal video footage from the scene shows the woman marching towards the officers

Surreal video footage from the scene shows the woman marching towards the officers, who were in heavy protective gear including gas masks and helmets, almost completely naked

The unidentified woman struck a series of ballet and yoga poses in front of anti-riot officers at around 1.45 am on Saturday morning

The unidentified woman struck a series of ballet and yoga poses in front of anti-riot officers at around 1.45 am on Saturday morning

Officers proceed to fire pepper balls at the woman’s feet and another protester is filmed rushing to protect her with a makeshift shield. 

However she side-steps him to perform a series of yoga poses in front of the officers and even reclines onto the street at one point. 

Her graceful poses stand in stark contrast to the heavily-armed guards. 

According to Dave Killen, a photographer for The Oregonian, the officers left around 10 minutes after the naked woman showed up. 

‘She was incredibly vulnerable,’ he told the news outlet. 

‘It would have been incredibly painful to be shot with any of those munitions with no clothes on.’ 

Officers proceed to fire pepper balls at the woman's feet and another protester is filmed rushing to protect her with a makeshift shield

The woman appears to yell toward the officers during the incident

Officers proceed to fire pepper balls at the woman’s feet and another protester is filmed rushing to protect her with a makeshift shield

ACLU files lawsuit against the DHS after federal agents were deployed to Portland to quell demonstrations  

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday after federal agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon. 

The ACLU said it filed lawsuit over the ‘flat-out unconstitutional’ arrests. 

 ‘Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping — what is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the US. 

‘These actions are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered,’ the organization wrote.

Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, added: ‘This is a fight to save our democracy.’

Simon added: ‘These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city. We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends.’

ACLU also filed a lawsuit against the US Marshals Service and the Portland Police, who they’ve accused of unfairly targeting journalists and legal observers amid ongoing protests.

If won, federal agents would be held to far more restrictions than they are now. 

Authorities would be barred from arresting, threatening to arrest or using physical force against journalists or legal observers unless it’s ‘reasonably known’ the individual committed a crime.

In Portland, courts have recognized nudity as a form of political protest which overrides public decency laws.  

It comes as the city of Portland has seen daily Black Lives Matter protests decrying police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Portland police early Monday detailed another night of conflict between protesters and federal forces outside the US courthouse, including a small fire outside the building and tear gas deployed to disperse the crowd.

A department statement said police officers did not engage with the crowd, and that federal authorities periodically came of out of the courthouse to keep demonstrators at bay.

Video posted online also showed protesters taking down fencing that had surrounded the courthouse. 

‘Dozens of people with shields, helmets, gas masks, umbrellas, bats, and hockey sticks approached the doors before federal law enforcement came out and dispersed the crowd,’ police said.

‘At 1.34am people lit a fire within the portico in front of the federal courthouse. Others gathered around the fire adding wood and other debris to make it larger. 

‘At 1.42am federal law enforcement came out of the courthouse, dispersed the crowd and extinguished the fire,’ the statement said.

Gas was used at least twice to remove protesters, the statement said, but Portland officers ‘were not present during any of the activity’ or deploy any ‘CS gas’.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said federal officers ‘are not wanted here’. 

‘We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave.’

Wheeler and Oregon Governor Kate Brown, both Democrats, called the move an abuse of power by the federal government.

Top leaders in the US House said Sunday they were ‘alarmed’ by the Trump administration’s tactics against protesters in Portland and other cities, including Washington, DC. 

They’ve called on federal inspectors general investigate.

‘This is a matter of utmost urgency,’ wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Mississippi, and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York, in a letter to the inspectors general of Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

The Democratic lawmakers are seeking an investigation ‘into the use of federal law enforcement agencies by the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security to suppress First Amendment protected activities in Washington, DC, Portland, and other communities across the United States’.

President Donald Trump has decried the demonstrations, and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blasted the protesters as ‘lawless anarchists’ in a visit to the city last Thursday. Portland police early Monday detailed another night of conflict between protesters and federal forces outside the US courthouse, including a small fire outside the building and tear gas deployed to disperse the crowd

Portland police early Monday detailed another night of conflict between protesters and federal forces outside the US courthouse, including a small fire outside the building and tear gas deployed to disperse the crowdA department statement said police officers did not engage with the crowd (pictured), and that federal authorities periodically came of out of the courthouse to keep demonstrators at bay

A department statement said police officers did not engage with the crowd (pictured), and that federal authorities periodically came of out of the courthouse to keep demonstrators at bayBlack Lives Matter protesters gather outside the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse on Sunday in Portland

Black Lives Matter protesters gather outside the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse on Sunday in PortlandA protester walks away from chemical irritants as federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters Sunday night

A protester walks away from chemical irritants as federal agents use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters Sunday night Dumpster fires were also set and fencing was moved and made into barricades, police said. A protester is seen burning an American flag outside the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse

Dumpster fires were also set and fencing was moved and made into barricades, police said. A protester is seen burning an American flag outside the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse

‘We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,’ Trump tweeted Sunday. ‘Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. 

‘We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!’

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Attorney General William Barr and Wolf are working on measures the administration can take to counter the unrest.

‘You’ll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities, whether it’s Chicago or Portland, or Milwaukee, or someplace across the heartland of the country, we need to make sure our communities are safe,’ Meadows said on Sunday Morning Futures.

The announcement is expected to expand a new Justice Department initiative that sends federal law enforcement into cities facing protests.Federal officers launch tear gas and other crowd control munitions to clear the area after protesters removed fencing around the front entrance of the federal courthouse in Portland early Monday morning+17

Federal officers launch tear gas and other crowd control munitions to clear the area after protesters removed fencing around the front entrance of the federal courthouse in Portland early Monday morning Federal agents are seen trying to disperse protesters in Portland, Oregon, early Monday morning

Federal agents are seen trying to disperse protesters in Portland, Oregon, early Monday morningFederal law enforcement officials fire tear gas and other non lethal methods at demonstrators during a protest against racial inequality in Portland on Sunday

Federal law enforcement officials fire tear gas and other non lethal methods at demonstrators during a protest against racial inequality in Portland on Sunday Federal agents disperse Black Lives Matter protesters near the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse on early Monday morning in Portland

Federal agents disperse Black Lives Matter protesters near the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse on early Monday morning in PortlandKaCe Freeman chants during a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Mark O. Hatfield

KaCe Freeman chants during a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse early Monday morning 

Late Saturday, Portland police declared demonstrations near the federal courthouse a riot after saying protesters broke into the Portland Police Association building and started a fire. 

Dumpster fires were also set and fencing was moved and made into barricades, police said. 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court late Friday. 

The complaint said unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets ‘without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action’.

Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to ‘immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians’.

It’s unclear whether anyone was arrested or detained during the protest Sunday night.

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