Over the weekend, protesters in Portland, Oregon used just about the most appropriate song to get their point across. Playing Rage Against the Machine‘s ‘Killing in the Name’ through loudspeakers, protesters recited the track’s iconic line – ‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ – at federal agents on the other side of a fence.
Footage of the incident was posted to social media on Saturday (25th July). Surrounded by smoke, protesters in gas masks can be seen repeatedly shouting the lyric while pumping their fists.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello endorsed the demonstrators’ choice of song, sharing the clip on his Twitter account with the caption, “#PDX getting their #RATM on”.
Demonstrations have been taking place in Portland for over 60 days at this point, triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis back in May and escalating since the arrival of federal officers. Floyd died after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes – the footage prompting an outcry against police brutality and racism across the globe.
With widespread protests still taking place following the death of Floyd, ‘Killing in the Name’ arguably feels as timely as ever. A powerful protest song against police brutality and racial injustice, it was originally released in 1992, six months after the Los Angeles Riots – which began following the acquittal of four white police officers who attacked Rodney King.
Check it out below.
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) July 25, 2020