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Mayor Wheeler's opponent in the November election accuses him of unconstitutionally suppressing peaceful protest.

CONTRIBUTED - Sarah IannaronePortland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone has criticized incumbent Ted Wheeler for the city's response to two nights of destructive protests Sunday, calling it "the practice of pitting police against everyday Portlanders who simply seek justice."

Iannorane's campaign issued a statement Sunday morning, hours after police arrested at least 48 people during a second night of protests sparked by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd. The daytime peaceful protests in Portland devolved Friday and Saturday night into confrontations with police, dozens of businesses and public facilities vandalized, and millions of dollars of property damage.

To limit the violence, Wheeler has imposed overnight curfews between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Anyone violating the curfew is subject to arrest and a $500 fine. The curfew will go into effect again Sunday night.

But Iannorane called the curfew "unconstitutional" and accused Wheeler of banning all peaceful protests. She said Wheeler has "spent his time with the Portland Business Alliance and plotted vengeance against Black Lives Matter demonstrators."

"I stand in the streets with peaceful protesters because I, too, desperately want justice for George Floyd. Those seeking justice for black lives are not opportunists

or agitators, they are our neighbors. They are us," Iannarone said, countering how Wheeler characterize what he termed a small group of people using the protests to spread fear.

Wheeler's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He is scheduled to hold a press conference with community and faith leaders Sunday afternoon to discuss the impact on the African-American community.

Wheeler, who is the first Portland mayor to run for reelection since Vera Katz in 2000, was forced into a runoff with Iannarone at the May 19 primary election. He received 49% of the vote, just short of the 50% needed to win. Iannorane, an instructor and urban design advocate, received 24%. The runoff will take place at the Nov. 3 general election.

Portland is just one of many cities across the county experiencing destructive protests over the death of Floyd, an African-American, in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer. Several other cities have issued and enforced curfews, too.

Two civil rights organizations also have criticize the curfew in Portland. CAIR-Oregon and the Oregon Justice Resource Center issued a joint statement Sunday saying it "encourages law enforcement to continue targeting communities of color through a multitude of techniques which include an abuse of force."

You can read Iannarone's full statement here.


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