Night 52 in Portland: Fence comes down, tear gas comes out
Demonstrators returned to downtown Portland on Sunday evening, July 19, after a previous night of clashes and confrontations with law enforcement on both sides of the river. Federal officers again used tear gas on protesters outside the federal courthouse, and demonstrators regrouped outside of the building in the early hours of Monday morning.
KOIN 6 News saw protesters, including a group of mothers wearing yellow and holding flowers, peacefully surround a fence to the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse after night fell. A few federal officers were spotted exiting the building, but staying behind the fence before going back inside. But by 11:40, parts of the fence were disassembled, and some protesters sat behind it.
Around 11:50 p.m., federal officers rushed out of the building and used a heavy amount of tear gas, in addition to other crowd-control munitions, against protesters — many of whom had their hands up, KOIN 6 News witnessed.
According to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau, a small fire was lit within the portico in front of the federal courthouse just after 1:30 a.m., as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the area. Shortly before that, one protester reportedly climbed atop the Justice Center to tamper with a security camera.
Around 1:40 a.m., federal officers once again came out of the courthouse to extinguish the fire and to disperse the crowd. Videos circulating on social media show clouds of tear gas again being deployed, wafting through the streets as protesters cry out.
The Portland Police Bureau stated that its officers did not engage with the crowd at all overnight. Tear gas was used at least twice — but none was used by Portland Police, the statement said.
Sunday marked 52 nights of protests against police and racism. Protesters returned to the Justice Center and the federal courthouse. A march also was planned around 7 p.m. from Cathedral Park to the St. John's PPB Office on North Philadelphia Avenue.
On Saturday night, a riot was declared at the Portland Police Association headquarters on North Lombard Street after police said demonstrators broke into the building and lit a fire. At the same time, federal officers deployed teargas outside the federal courthouse downtown.
Portland Police arrested four people Saturday night/Sunday morning on charges including riot, resisting arrest and assault on a public safety officer.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Readers can find their story with video here.
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