Police close Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square early Thursday
Police arrested at least one person as protesters were cleared from Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square parks early Thursday morning.
Just after 5 a.m. on July 16, Portland police tweeted that Chapman Square Park and Lownsdale Square Park are both closed to the public. Police said all people, including journalists, are ordered to leave the area — or else they are subject to arrest for trespassing and subject to use of force.
Minutes later, police tweeted that everyone had left the area and that the parks will remain closed until a later date. Since the blocks are closed to the sidewalk edge, people are being asked to use sidewalks across the street.
KOIN 6 News reporter Elise Haas witnessed at least one person taken into custody. She described the arrest as aggressive.
Tear gas was used in an attempt to clear the crowd before then, as witnessed by KOIN 6 News.
Before that happened, at around 11 p.m., upwards of 150 people listened to speeches near the Justice Center and federal courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue. Authorities turned on a bright white spotlight from several stories up outside the federal courthouse, pointing toward demonstrators.
By 10 p.m., protesters had blocked off a block of Southwest Main Street between Southwest Second and Third. At least 100 protesters gathered in Lownsdale Square to listen to speeches and to chant.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, about 50 people were present at Lownsdale square, though it's not clear if all of them were there specifically to protest. Some of the people were in tents, which included a food tent, called Riot Ribs. They have been cooking and giving away free food to people in recent weeks, even as activities descend into chaos late into the night downtown.
KOIN 6 News also witnessed Southwest Main Street barricaded between Second and Third avenues on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Portland police said groups of people set up barricades on the street, threw glass bottles and pointed laser. Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, federal police used tear gas against protesters. The tear gas was witnessed by some KOIN 6 News staff.
In addition, multiple videos on social media showed federal officers driving an unmarked van downtown, getting out, going up to at least one protester, getting them into the van, then taking off without identifying themselves.
Federal agents' nightly responses to demonstrators over the past week has been assailed by four of Oregon's federal lawmakers in a joint letter addressed to U.S. Attorney William Barr and acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf, even as President Trump has continued to praise federal officers' response. The letter was cosigned by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Readers can find their story with video here.
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