Photos of soldier burned in effigy stir outrage
05:41 PM PDT on Saturday, March 24, 2007
By DAVID KROUGH and kgw.com Staff
Some photos that surfaced on the Internet revealed a darker side of the recent Iraq war protests in Portland.
Photos taken by Rachael Palinkas, a Linfield College student, showed masked protesters burning an effigy of what appears to be a U.S. soldier in the Park Blocks.
Thousands marched in Portland downtown streets Sunday to protest the fourth anniversary of the start of the war. As the march along 24 blocks ended, a group of young people led police on bicycles, horses and motorcycles through downtown.
A few scuffles broke out, with police using pepper spray at one point, and several people were led away in plastic cuffs.
The photos showed protesters gathered around a figure wearing U.S. military fatigues and a crude skull for a head as it and an American flag were lit on fire.
Other black-clad, masked protesters carried a black banner that read, "No Gods, no country, no masters," and a circle A anarchy symbol.
Palinkas went to the protest march Sunday because some friends were going and she thought it a good opportunity to snap photos.
"I was shocked! Cause I haven’t seen anything like that before, you know, so I was kind of scared and confused like, ‘what's going on who are these people?’ I'd never seen anyone burn the American flag or any act of burning an effigy."
She published the pics Sunday on her Facebook account. The Drudge Report grabbed it Wednesday and it took off nationally.
She's received dozens of email in angry reaction to publishing the photos.
“They and their friends are not anti-war: they are for anyone opposing this country,” one viewer wrote in the Vanguard blog, where the photos appeared. “The people they hate most are the American soldiers (whom they term “mercenaries” and in a different era called “baby-killers”) who dare bring freedom to an oppressed people under our flag.”
There was no word on the identity of the protesters.