Another night of violence in three-block area of downtown Portland
Federal authorities once again used tear gas against demonstrators who descended on downtown Portland on Sunday, July 26, to protest police and systemic racism amid the hottest temperatures of the year so far, which hit triple digits in the Willamette Valley.
The first use of tear gas and other crowd-control munitions by federal officers against demonstrators outside of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse came after only one warning just after midnight as some protesters rattled the fence surrounding the federal property and launched fireworks toward the courthouse, KOIN 6 News witnessed. Portland police said someone also attempted to cut through the fence, although the bureau added that Portland officers did not make any arrests or participate in dispersing the crowds.
Federal officers announced an unlawful assembly before 12:30 a.m. Demonstrators remained in the area, chanting "Feds go home" in response.
KOIN 6 News witnessed federal officers detain at least two people around 1:30 a.m. in the middle of the street in front of the federal courthouse. Officers pushed the crowd back as far as Southwest Fifth Avenue using tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls. KOIN 6 News also witnessed officers appearing to mace someone who was on a motorcycle.
Earlier Sunday evening, police were called out to Lownsdale Square after a shot was fired. Officers arrested two people in connection to the incident, and someone went to the hospital with an apparent gunshot wound. Police did not say if the shooting was connected to protest activity in the area.
The demonstrations also have brought out local animal celebrity, Caesar the No Drama Llama.
"This is his fifth Black Lives Matter March," said caretaker Larry McCool on Saturday evening. He said the llama loves people and is quite comfortable being in crowds.
"His job as the No Drama Llama is to bring tension down and to take drama out of people's lives — not add to it," McCool said. He said he and Caesar clear out as soon as things get too intense. "When we were down here before, we could smell the gas. But, (I) take him out of the situation before anything happens."
Because after dark, the scene changes. Clouds of tear gas have spread over downtown Portland every night for almost two weeks. This weekend has already seen numerous conflicts between law enforcement and demonstrators.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Readers can find their story with video here.
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