Portland witnessed its 62nd consecutive night of protests since George Floyd’s death Tuesday, with hundreds of protesters gathered once again in federal court and some launching fireworks, prompting federal officials to launch tear gas to disperse them. .
This conflict has become a routine occurrence, and several speakers and activists across the street in Lownsdale Park urged crowds not to get involved with the federal police because, in doing so, they argue that it is only further distracting to the Black Lives movement. Matter.
“If you really want to respect the lives of blacks, and if you really want to respect Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, you will listen to the movement rather than antagonize it,” Portlander Najee Gow, 22, told people starting to meet at along the courthouse fence around 9:45 pm
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A crowd of several hundred people would eventually gather along SW Third Avenue, concentrated mainly outside the United States Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse and the Multnomah County Justice Center.
People blocked vehicle traffic in the area for several hours. During this time, people in the crowd made speeches, shouted, sang, and hit the fence surrounding the courthouse, according to a summary of events organized by the Portland Police Office.
Federal officials in court periodically issued warnings to people not to damage the fence. After bulbs were thrown and lights were shown in the building, federal officials deployed tear gas and used a hose to spray the sidewalk next to the fence, removing chemical agents from the ground from previous nights, The Oregonian reported.
That’s the same fence. Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said the city is fining the federal government $ 500 for every 15 minutes blocking a bike path on SW Third Avenue. On Tuesday morning, Eudaly, who runs the city’s transportation office, said the bill was $ 192,000 and continues to count.
People in the crowd Tuesday night wore gas masks and helmets, and carried signs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, umbrellas, leaf blowers, and fireworks. Police said people started a fire inside the fence at 10:45 pm and began firing Roman candles and other commercial-grade fireworks in court. People also threw stones, bottles, and other objects and climbed on the fence. A large fire was lit where the statue of Elk used to be in the park across the street.
The crowd began to disperse around 1:38 am Wednesday, police said.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has begun talks with the Oregon governor’s office and indicated that it would begin reducing the presence of federal agents dispatched to quell two months of chaotic protests in Portland if the state stepped up its own application, a senior White House official. he said Tuesday.
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The official stressed to the Associated Press that talks with the office of Democratic Governor Kate Brown are in the early stages and there is no agreement. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Just a day earlier, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security were weighing whether to send more officers. The sheriffs were taking steps to identify as many as 100 additional people who could go should they be needed to relieve or supplement deputy sheriffs working in Oregon, spokesman Drew Wade said. Homeland Security was considering a similar measure with Customs and Border Protection agents
Night protests in Portland have often turned into violence as protesters attack the United States court in Oregon’s largest city with rocks, fireworks, and laser pointers, while federal agents respond with tear gas, less lethal ammunition and arrests.
“We, as you know, have done an excellent job guarding Portland and watching our court where they wanted to set it on fire, they are anarchists, no less than anarchist agitators,” Trump said Tuesday. “And we have protected it. Very powerfully. And if we didn’t go there, I would tell you that you would not have a court. You would have a burning building of a billion dollars.
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The development came when the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon filed a motion alleging that militarized American agents are attacking journalists and legal observers with riot ammunition, despite a federal court ordering them to arrest. It was shelved after United States Attorney General William Barr defended Tuesday’s aggressive federal response to Congress, saying that “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” sparked by Floyd’s death.
Associated Press contributed to this report.