PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - More than 1,000 people gathered downtown on Friday night as part of a nationwide demonstration against migrant detentions centers.

The crowd joined hundreds of other communities across the United States as part of the “Lights for Liberty” vigils.  

In Portland, advocates and concerned citizens first gathered at the Terry Schrunk Plaza around 9 p.m. A slew of dancers, singers, speakers and a prayer led off the event.

Demonstrators spoke out against what they said are poor conditions inside migrant detention centers on the southern border.

“Human rights abuses are happening right in front of our – everybody’s – eyes, and sanctioned by the government,” organizer Monica Arce told FOX 12. “And I think it is our responsibility as a population to protest and to make sure everybody understands that we do not support this and we think that this is wrong.”

Videos of the detention centers that have gone public have appeared to show overcrowding and migrants being held behind caged fences.

According to the Associated Press, at least five children have died in Border Patrol custody, or after being released, since December.

“I think for me personally, there's no excuse for any of it for adults of children,” said demonstrator Emmy Connell of Portland. “I have two small children. Just the idea of these children not getting their needs meet - hugs, love, toys - all things children should have access to. It's just breaking my heart.”

President Donald Trump and many Republicans have defended the conditions at the detention centers.

In a tweet posted July 3, the president said the conditions are “better” and “safer” than where many of the migrants have come from.

Causa, an Oregon-based immigrants rights organization, has been among a multitude of others that have called the conditions “inhumane” and disputed the president’s claim.

As darkness fell over the rally Friday night, the crowd also spoke out against reported ICE raids planned for this weekend in major U.S. cities.

Then, they raised lit candles and shouted “Never again is now!” before marching on sidewalks. Eventually, they crossed the Hawthorne Bridge, then turned around and returned back downtown.

The crossing of the bridge, organizers said, was an act of symbolism to represent what they called “peaceful border crossings”.

According to the “Lights for Liberty” website, events were also planned Friday night in various other Oregon communities including Salem, Eugene, Bend and Astoria.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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(4) comments

Andrewvtt

Protest all you want. But when you and your family are victims of illegal immigrant murdering your loved one they you wont be protesting.

David Oregon

I was just wondering how many of these protesters will open their home for the illegals while their amnesty claims are being investigated. NADA. The righteous left, all wind and no substance.

Terrell Higgs

So where are they going to put the kids and people waiting processing? Let them go on the street? More than 75% never return to show up for their hearing either.

Lawlessness Brings Destruction

People are right to be concerned if there are poor conditions in the detention camps. The only trouble is, the poor conditions don't exist. The photos and videos of poor conditions, children behind caged fences., sleeping on a wafer thin mattress with a space blanket, all were taken during the Obama administration. Special interests (CAUSA and others) and leftist Democrats have been dishonestly using those images as today's conditions. Their narratives are completely false and have been fully debunked. It just doesn't get any traction in the media as very few outlets will carry the truth about the matter for fear of boycotts against advertisers, doxxing and threats against employees, and vandalism. Some peaceful movement, eh? During the Clinton administration, a Democrat crafted bill was signed in to law that separated children from the adults when apprehensions of illegals were made. This was for the protection of the children. Bill Clinton enforced it. So Presidents Obama and GW Bush for TWO terms EACH. Nothing but crickets from the media and special interests. Now suddenly, President Trump is a monster for enforcing this law as well. The law was passed and enforced to protect the children. Recently, a young female toddler was found to have conclusive evidence of 20 different occurrences of sexual abuse when she wasn't separated from the adults. THIS is why the children are separated. It's not about being cruel or inhumane but about compassion and protecting the most vulnerable and defenseless. But the special interests, elements of the media, and racists continue to spew hate toward President Trump, his administration and supporters, and most anyone who stands for the rule of law. The facts of the matter in a nutshell are these. Illegal immigration is NOT a "race". Enforcing the rule of law is NOT "racism". Lawlessness does NOT = "compassion". Illegals are being betrayed by their own governments and our leftist Democrats who entice them with all kinds of perks and subsidies.. Their governments run newspaper ads encouraging their people to make the very dangerous trip to come to the U.S. illegally How many have died either by exposure to the desert, at the hands of smugglers, or swift rivers and other hostile terrain? How many had preexisting medial conditions pushed to life threatening by the trip? Is encouraging this lawlessness TRULY "compassionate"? And why aren't their governments telling their people they can apply for asylum at any U.S. consulate (there 9 in Mexico) or U.S. embassy instead of making the dangerous trip to the U.S. border. THIS is the humanitarian crisis; people being used as cannon fodder toward a political agenda of removing U.S. borders. Yes, those people SHOULD be protesting...but about the RIGHT things.

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