Portland Protesters Breach Fence Round Federal Courthouse – NBC Los Angeles

Portland Protesters Breach Fence Around Federal Courthouse – NBC Los Angeles

Authorities announced an uprising early Sunday in Portland, Oregon, during which demonstrators broke a fence around the city's Federal Court building, which was home to US agents.

The police described via Twitter the "violent behavior of people in the city center" as "serious risk of a public alarm". Police asked people to leave the courthouse area around 1:20 a.m. on Sunday, saying those who do not abide may be arrested or exposed to tear gas and firearms.

At 1:40 am, federal officials and Portland police were seen on the streets surrounding the courthouse, trying to clear the area and use tear gas.

The demonstrators remained on the streets after 2:30 a.m., forming lines across intersections and holding temporary shields while the police patrolled and closed blocks on the area. Several arrests were made, but it was not immediately clear how many.

In the hours leading up to the declaration of insurgency, thousands of people gathered in the city on Saturday evening to spend another night of the protests. Demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd and the presence of federal agents sent by President Donald Trump showed no signs of easing.

Around 9:15 p.m. crowds marched towards the city's federal court, some marching from a distance of 8 kilometers. A large group of demonstrators in the North Portland neighborhood were also shown by the local police station, which was cordoned off and had officers in protective clothing in front of the building.

The demonstrators stopped in front of a downtown hotel where federal agents were staying, chanted "Feds go home" and shouted the names of the blacks killed by the police.

As protesters marched through the streets, the Portland Police Bureau published on social media that people should not be allowed to enter or block the street as they may file charges of disorderly behavior and interference with peacekeepers.

Hundreds of others crossed the steel bridge around 11 p.m. to the courthouse, where they meet with thousands of people who have been gassed by federal agents.

Flowers and banners were placed on the fence surrounding the building when federal agents came out of the courthouse to inspect it. They were hit with fireworks that were shot over the fence.

Federal agents threw tear gas canisters onto the crowd as people run towards the feathers, pick up some of the canisters and throw them back over the fence.

When some demonstrators tried to cut the fence with power tools, pepper spray streams were spewed on the crowd.

In the nearby judicial center, images and words were projected onto the building, including “Keep fighting. Keep pressing. "

During the demonstrations, federal agents repeatedly fired tear gas last night to end vocal protests that continued until early Saturday morning. Authorities said six federal officials were injured and one person was arrested.

Since Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in May, nightly demonstrations have been taking place in Oregon's largest city for two months. Trump said he had sent federal agents to Portland to stop the unrest, but government and local officials say they are making the situation worse.

There were demonstrations on Saturday for police reforms and against the increasing presence of law enforcement agencies in cities across the country. In Seattle, the police rioted on Saturday afternoon after large demonstrations and used lightning and pepper spray to eradicate the crowd. Authorities arrested more than 40 people and said 21 officers had suffered mostly minor injuries.

Chuck Lovell, Portland's chief of police, released a video message on social media on Saturday night calling for peace.

"People all over the country commit violence, allegedly in support of Portland," said Lovell. “If you want to support Portland, stop the violence and work for peace. Police officers and police facilities in Portland were threatened.

"The Portland police force needs your support more than ever. We want to be with you in the community and work on real relationships that change. We want to come back to the critical problems kidnapped by people who have committed crimes covering the crowd. "

Late Friday, a federal judge denied an application from the Oregon Attorney General to restrict federal police action.

The Federal Protective Service had declared the assembly in Portland, which started on Friday evening, an unlawful assembly. Harry Fones, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Service, said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon that some people had fired large fireworks, thrown hard projectiles, and used power tools to damage property.

Craig Gabriel, a United States attorney for the Oregon District, said at the press conference that one of the six injured federal officers suffered a concussion and another was hospitalized for burns.

He said a person was arrested for failing to follow the instructions. This person was later released without charge, bringing the total number of people arrested on or near the courthouse to 60 since the beginning of July.


Cline reported from Salem. Cline is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit, national service program in which journalists report on topics not covered in local newsrooms.


Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus.


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