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Some Protests Against Police Brutality Take a More Confrontational Approach

Lindsey E. Murphy agreed. She marched with the protesters through one of Portland’s wealthiest neighborhoods on a recent night and found it deeply moving. She watched white demonstrators shouting at white residents that Black lives matter — and the residents joining in with the chant.

“The crowd was — I won’t even say mostly white — I’ll say it was an almost exclusively white crowd marching through the whitest neighborhood in Portland shouting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Black Lives Are Magic’,” said Ms. Murphy, who is Black and hosts an educational children’s YouTube series. “What I was witnessing was a lamenting prayer, a cry of remorse and shame among the white people. That’s what I saw. It was healing.”

The American flag that generated controversy is displayed in Kenton, a neighborhood of Portland with small bungalows, lush front gardens and ripe fruit trees. Weeks after the confrontation, the husband and wife who fly the flag said they were fearful of retaliation from the roving protesters, who had found their phone number.

But they say they will not be intimidated into removing the flag.

“I will not take my flag down,” said the husband, who declined to provide his name in a brief interview.

The same night the protesters came to the couple’s door last month, they marched into Kenton’s commercial district and used restaurant picnic tables as fuel for fires. They collected the colorful wooden dividers the neighbors had recently built for outdoor dining and set those ablaze as well. Mr. Moses and others in the community ran into the protests with fire extinguishers.

Protesters that night broke into the Portland Police Association building and set it on fire. A man was later seen scrubbing the sidewalk graffiti — a popular message was “PPB = KKK,” meaning that the Portland Police Bureau is the Ku Klux Klan.

Mr. Green said that he opposed the destruction of property, but that he also understood it. And he believes, generally, that the more direct protest tactics in residential areas are working because they make the movement more personal, and reveal who truly supports change. If someone is against the movement, they keep their lights off or refuse to raise their fist, he said, adding that taking the debate into homes and to families is essential.

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