A mysterious, naked protester put on a display so profound it ended with officers turning away from a raucous crowd they had been firing pepper bullets and tear gas at just moments before.
The rally was one of several that have continued on a daily basis in some US cities since the death of George Floyd – a black man who died under the knee of a police officer.
According to local reports and footage shared online, the woman emerged naked from a crowd in Portland, Oregon, about 1.45am Saturday (local time) before performing a series of ballet poses towards the officers.
She wore a black face mask and a stocking cap and stayed silent, despite at one point another protester approaching and trying to shield her from incoming pepper bullets.
In one instance she stood on a single leg and raised her arms. In another moment she sat on the bitumen, facing the officers with her legs apart.
A particularly strange moment in the middle of the madness.
She later rolled onto her back and stood up again, before being captured in a video gazing at the officers as they slowly retreated and left the scene.
The reason for them leaving was not clear, and it was not known if it was a direct result of the nude woman, who was given the name ‘Naked Athena’ by some online.
People at the scene said the display lasted about 15 minutes before the woman disappeared back into the crowd unharmed, according to the LA Times.
In Portland, appearing nude or exposing one's genitals in public can constitute symbolic conduct and therefore is a form of expression protected by law.
Some praised the woman’s incredible act in posts to Twitter, while other criticised the event – led by a white woman – for distracting from the Black Lives Matter message.
Nudity has long been utilised by protestors, with Lady Govida riding a horse naked through Coventry in England in the 11th century in protest of oppressive taxation.
The unusual scene took place on the weekend as violent protests continue to plague northwest cities of Portland and Seattle.
On Sunday, local time, a group of local mothers again took to the streets after they tried to confront federal authorities and were ultimately fired upon with tear gas.
I am here outside the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Portland, where a crowd of mothers have gathered again after being tear gassed last night by feds.— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) July 20, 2020
This is one of the largest Portland crowds we have seen this month. pic.twitter.com/QuAwj8xvD2
The mayor of the US city of Portland is demanding President Donald Trump remove militarised federal agents who have detained people far from property they were sent to protect.
"Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city," Mayor Ted Wheeler said at a news conference over the weekend.
Portland has had ongoing, sometimes violent, protests against racial injustice and police brutality with federal authorities blaming the state for not bringing it to an end.
Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far.
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