Tribute to xenophobia? Anti-Trump activists face backlash for ‘statue’ in Portland linking Putin to alleged police brutality
An activist group has unveiled a new ‘statue’ in Portland, Oregon which appears to connect Vladimir Putin to allegations of police brutality in the city. Isn’t that a bit xenophobic? Twitter observers have asked.
The collective, known as the Trump Statue Initiative (TSI), used live actors covered in gold, and standing on top of a large pedestal, to create the impression that a new monument had been installed in the city on Monday.
Their performance art piece showed Donald Trump holding up a selfie-stick and making a thumbs-up sign as men wearing gas masks and riot gear pull a protester holding a ‘BLM’ placard into a van. “Ode to Putin” is written on the statue’s pedestal. TSI is reportedly also rolling out an Instagram filter which highlights Trump’s allegedly problematic relationship with the Russian president.
The ‘statue’ appeared to be a satirical take on allegations that federal agents sent to Portland to protect the city’s federal courthouse used unmarked vehicles to seize and detain demonstrators without probable cause.
A group called the “Trump Statue Initative” has erected this life-sized, living art installation in Portland depicting the arrest of a protester by federal agents. In front, it features a man depicting the President taking a selfie. #Portland#PDXprotests#pdxpic.twitter.com/kf6viiM6Sf
— David Douglas (@DavidDouglasTV) August 3, 2020
The troupe of gold-covered activists was praised on social media for their “bold expression of what’s taken place” in Portland. But many others took issue with the ‘statue.’
Some supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement argued that the gimmick did nothing to help further their cause.
This sucksIt’s an expensive installation to criticize… him?Instead of anything addressing the actions of the PPB & Ted Wheeler?This is the most typical out of touch, Portland Liberal thing.I wonder how much money could have been given to Black folks instead of *this*
— Moth🦋 (@LaminatedMoth) August 3, 2020
Journalist Yasha Levine mocked the stunt as a ridiculous “psy-op.”
“Russians are totally responsible for Trump and Portland. yep, the Russians,” he tweeted.
Others described the attempt to link Russia to the unrest in Portland as a clear example of xenophobia.
One cheeky commenter suggested that the group apparently believes that each month Putin sends Trump a to-do list, which the US president obediently follows.
Here is how global politics works: Every month Putin writes a long letter to Trump with all the things he wants, and Trump just goes down the list checking them off one by one. And no one can stop him
— hine (@insomnijack) August 4, 2020
TSI has created two other ‘statues,’ one which mocked Trump’s repeated statements against mail-in voting, and another that criticized the president’s remarks about accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.
This isn’t the first time that Russia has been linked to alleged police misconduct in the United States.
Last month, a popular Russiagate pundit suggested that Trump was equipping American police with frightening futuristic body armor, at the behest of Putin. As it turns out, photographs of the scary cyberpunk cops were actually CGI graphics dating back to 2006.
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