Dozens of masked activists stormed the National Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend, defacing exhibits — including pictures of fallen agents — and later boasting they had "reclaimed" the institution.
What are the details?
Museum Director David Ham told The Washington Examiner roughly 50 protesters "donning masks to conceal their identity" swarmed through the building on Saturday, displaying banners and chanting, "Say it loud, say it clear, Border Patrol kills!"
Ham posted on his own Facebook page after the incident, saying the activists "defaced all of our exhibits including our sacred Memorial Room. Efforts to prosecute them will be pursued once damage is assessed. This angers me greatly."
The demonstration was organized by a group that calls itself Tornillo: The Occupation. On the day of the protest, it posted on Facebook, "Our Direct Action Nonviolently reclaimed the border patrol museum and exposed the true violence of borders and those who patrol them,"
Fox News reported.
Tornillo: The Occupation no longer has the word "reclaim" it that particular post, as of this writing.
The group does have live video of the event posted with the caption, "Direct Action: Reclaiming the border patrol museum and exposing the true violence of borders and border patrol."
What did the group do in the museum?
Footage shows dozens of demonstrators filing into the museum — some masked, others not — singing and displaying banners. Then a protester who identifies herself as "Hope" from New Mexico, explains over a megaphone, "we are here to bring awareness to this museum and the lies that it's telling, the revisionist history that is happening and that is being displayed right here inside this building, where we are celebrating the genocide and the concentration camp of migrant youth and families."
The video remains focused on Hope and another activist who speaks to the crowd until the group begins to funnel out of the building, chanting and cheering. Two museum workers can then be seen addressing a female activist holding a baby, with one saying, "There's no need to have put that stuff on our displays," and another saying, "You guys came in and you scared our people, harassed our people, vandalized..." with the activist responding that the group is leaving.
Outside, the activists remained, chanting, "F*** your walls, f*** your borders, we won't take your f***ing orders."
The Washington Examiner reported that the activists "plastered dozens of images on pictures, glass, painted walls, mannequins, and vehicles throughout the building. They also posted the pictures on the faces of Border Patrol agents who died in the line of duty."
Yesterday, masked protestors “occupied & reclaimed” (whatever that means) the #BorderPatrol museum (non-profit enti… https://t.co/Bojn7XMTJW— Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent (@Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent)1550441677.0
Police responded to the scene, took down the information of the protesters and released them. The incident is still under investigation.
The National Border Patrol Museum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution that operates on federal land.