Portland, OR – Protesters camped outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building alleged that agents have “psychologically tortured” them by broadcasting an upbeat song from the building for more than 10 hours on Sunday.
Jim Bianco’s catchy horn-and-banjo ditty, “Easy Street,” soared to fame in late 2016 after it was used repeatedly during an episode of AMC’s hit zombie apocalypse series, “The Walking Dead,” Billboard reported.
During that episode, an imprisoned characters’ captors played the song on a continuous loop.
On Sunday evening, Abolish I.C.E. PDX posted a short clip of the scene outside the ICE building to Twitter.
“ICE has been playing children’s music for 5 hours now,” the caption read, as “Easy Street” played happily in the background.
Temperatures in Portland climbed to 100 degrees Fahrenheit that afternoon, Willamette Week reported.
"It seems to play for a couple minutes and is a continuous loop," a spokesperson for #OccupyICE told the news outlet in an email later that evening. "It's been playing for 10+ hours now."
The agents also kept floodlights directed at the tent city overnight.
“Last night in Portland ICE shined flood lights on #OccupyICEPDX protesters who were camping next to their building,” a Twitter user wrote. “Today ICE is blasting children's music.”
“@ DHSgov Why are you allowing your "police" officers to psychologically torture law-abiding protestors in Portland with flood lights and loud, repetitive music? No one is on federal property, so what is your mission there? Who do you serve?” another user tweeted.
“That's Psy-ops tactics right there. As if the heat and lack of sleep isn't enough to drive you mad, this will surely aid the process. They are trying to break the camper's spirits,” one person wrote.
Protesters alleged that Department of Homeland Security agents had attempted to “arouse and disorient and disrupt” them in the past, by playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” at a loud volume throughout the night, Willamette Week reported.
"Threatening dad rock with lyrics like 'sleep with one eye open,' was played at high volume, disrupting protester's rest,” #OccupyICE protesters complained on June 28, referring to one of the iconic metal band’s lyrics.
"I know [officers] were having dinner on the roof last night," Federal Protective Service spokesman Robert Sperling told Willamette Week at the time. "If music was coming off the top of the building, that might have been what it was.”