Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Portland Police use smoke grenades, pepper balls to control protesters

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept 1 (Reuters) – Protests flared again in Portland overnight on Monday as demonstrators clashed with police on the streets of the city which after months of sometimes violent confrontations has become a focal point of the U.S. presidential race.

Police used smoke grenades and pepper balls to control the crowd of protesters. Officers were also seen arresting people who refused to leave the area.

About 200-300 people gathered in the downtown to march to the apartment of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to demand his resignation. They were seen lighting wooden benches and plastic trash bins on fire along the march.

Portland Police later declared the gathering a riot after protesters set fire in an apartment building, and ordered crowds to disperse or risk facing arrest.

The area was then secured to allow firefighters to respond to the situation, police said.

Portland has seen nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, in Minneapolis on May 25. In recent weeks, tensions between right- and left-wing groups in the city have roiled downtown.

Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested so far by the police since the protests have begun.

10 PHOTOSPortland protestsSee GalleryPortland protestsPortland police officers walk through the Laurelhurst neighborhood after dispersing a protest of about 200 people from in front of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office early in the morning on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)Demonstrators gathered at Floyd Light City Park on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020 in Portland, Ore.Protests turned violent again even after the mayor pleaded with demonstrators to stay off the streets. Police say an officer suffered what was described as a severe injury after being hit with a rock late Thursday. (Mark Graves /The Oregonian via AP)Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Ore. after rallying at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. Following an agreement between Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Trump administration to reduce federal officers in the city, nightly protests remained largely peaceful without major confrontations between demonstrators and officers. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)A Department of Homeland Security officer emerges from the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse after demonstrators lit a fire on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Following an agreement between Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Trump administration to reduce federal officers in the city, nightly protests remained largely peaceful without major confrontations between protesters and officers. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)PORTLAND, OR – AUGUST 2: A protester who identified himself only as Soah flashes the peace sign while dancing in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse during a Black Lives Matter protest on August. 2, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Portlands nightly protests have remained peaceful following Thursdays announcement that federal officers would begin a phased withdrawal from the city. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks with Black Lives Matter protesters on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Late Wednesday Wheeler joined protesters at the front of the crowd and was hit with chemical irritants several times by federal officers dispersing demonstrators. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)Joseph Oakman and fellow Proud Boys plant a flag in Tom McCall Waterfront Park during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the situation was “potentially dangerous and volatile” but as of early afternoon most of the right-wing groups had left the area via a downtown bridge and police used officers on bikes and in riot gear to keep black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — from following them.(AP Photo/Noah Berger)Members of dozens of civic leaders hold up signs spelling out Our City Our Home on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Portland, Ore., during a rally to support the city in advance of protests planned for Saturday. The Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, said anyone planning violence or espousing hatred at an upcoming weekend protest by right-wing groups in the liberal city “are not welcome here.” Wheeler spoke with other city leaders ahead of the event Saturday, which is also expected to bring out anti-fascist protesters. Anticipating trouble, none of the city’s nearly 1,000 police officers will have the day off Saturday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to people gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Wheeler faced a hostile crowd of protesters, who screamed at and sharply questioned him as he tried to rally demonstrators who have clashed repeatedly with federal agents sent in by President Donald Trump to quell ongoing unrest in the city. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)In this image made from video released by Karina Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler puts his hands to his mouth as he stands at a fence guarding a federal courthouse as tear gas drifts by early July 23, 2020, in Portland Oregon, during another night of protest against the presence of federal agents sent by President Donald Trump to quell unrest in the city. (Karina Brown via AP)Up Next

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The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump in July deployed federal forces to Portland to crack down on the protests.

State police and law enforcement from neighboring suburbs were sent to Portland on Monday as tensions mounted following a fatal weekend shooting in the midst of clashes between supporters of Trump and counter-protesters.

Trump has seized on civil disturbances in Portland and other cities to blame state and local Democratic leaders as he amplifies his calls for law and order ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

His opponent in the election, Democrat Joe Biden, on Monday said it was Trump himself that was helping to stoke the violence. (Additional reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; writing by Kanishka Singh, editing by Angus MacSwan)

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