L.A. Times Bureau Chief Compares Naked Portland Protester to Tiananmen Square ‘Tank Man’

The Los Angeles Times on Monday compared images of a naked woman protesting federal police in Portland, Ore., to the iconic picture of a Chinese man standing in front of a tank at the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

The woman, whose name was not reported, sat nude in front of federal police during a demonstration in Portland on Saturday. She then proceeded to do yoga poses and ballet dance moves while facing officers in riot gear.

“Images of her on social media harked back to previous iconic — but clothed — images juxtaposing force and vulnerability, such as the 1967 photo of a Vietnam War protester who faced a line of U.S. troops and placed a carnation into the barrel of a soldier’s rifle,” the Los Angeles Times’ Portland Bureau Chief Richard Read wrote. “In an ultimate act of defiance broadcast worldwide, a man stood in front of a column of tanks leaving Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, a day after the Chinese military had suppressed protests by force.”

Read went on to say that nudity has served as a form of protest since the eleventh century.

Portland has seen protests and riots every day since the late-May death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Federal police have been operating in Portland over the past two weeks in an attempt to quell the riots, sometimes grabbing protesters off the streets and moving them to a different location.

“This is no longer about George Floyd, racial equity, social justice reform or the evolution of policing,” Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner said on Sunday, after rioters set fire to the association’s headquarters. “This is about violence, rioting and destruction. Our city is under siege by rioters.”

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