Portland police use tear gas after declaring riot for second night
(Reuters) – Police in the city of Portland said they fired crowd control munitions and tear gas on Wednesday night to break up a gathering of about 200 people who threw rocks, lit fires and vandalized a U.S. immigration agency building.
Law enforcement officials had declared a riot for a second successive night, calling a protest near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office an “unlawful assembly”.
Federal officers fired pepper balls and set off a few smoke devices, the Oregonian newspaper reported earlier.
Protests against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The Portland protests are among those that have erupted occasionally in arson and violence, with federal officers sent into the northwestern city repeatedly clashing with crowds targeting its federal courthouse.
Wednesday’s protest began in the Elizabeth Caruthers Park before demonstrators marched toward the ICE building.
“All persons near SW Bancroft St and SW Bond Ave must disperse,” police had said on Twitter, warning the marchers they faced arrest and the use of tear gas, crowd control agents and impact weapons if they did not comply.
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
Two arrests were made on charges of “interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct”, police said in a statement. The arrested men were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.
Police officers sustained minor injuries, the statement added, without specifying how many were injured.
Police had also declared a riot on Tuesday after protesters lit fires, threw rocks and smashed windows at county government offices in another location, in violence that also led to two arrests and a minor injury for an officer.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr drew fire from Democratic lawmakers this month for sending federal officers to disperse protesters in the city.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue, Clarence Fernandez and Alex Richardson)
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