Night 54 in Portland: Moms, marches and tear gas
Federal officers fired tear gas, pepper balls and flashbangs at demonstrators in downtown Portland during the 54th straight night of protests on Tuesday, July 21.
The officers made their first appearance of the night at about 11:10 p.m. and immediately started using crowd-control munitions in an attempt to disperse hundreds of people gathered outside of the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue.
Protesters reportedly equipped with hammers and crowbars, donned in helmets and gas masks had begun kicking and pounding on plywood covering the exterior of the Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct and thecourthouse. Police say the group breached the west side doors of the courthouse shortly after 11 p.m., prompting the federal officers' response.
Another group of federal officers marched down Southwest Fourth and stopped outside of City Hall.
As Tuesday's protests spilled into Wednesday morning, police say protesters gathered fences and road barricades and began approaching the federal courthouse, using pieces of the fence as a shield. Officers identified over a loud speaker as being from the Federal Protective Service then deployed gas and other crowd-control munitions to push remaining protesters away from the federal courthouse.
An announcement then said the situation had been declared an "unlawful assembly".
Around 1:30 a.m., multiple fires were set in the area — including one outside an exit door of the federal courthouse. At 1:45 a.m., federal officers once again rushed protesters in an effort to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, another fire was lit at Lownsdale Square Park. The remaining crowd slowly dissipated afterward.
Portland police say they did not engage with protesters overnight and made no arrests. It is not clear how many arrests were made by federal officers.
Early in the day, the "Wall of Moms" — which now included dads — gathered at Salmon Street Springs Park before marching to the Justice Center area in an effort to protect younger protesters.
"We're just moms that are tired of seeing other community members get hurt," one mom named Heather told KOIN 6 News.
The moms made their first coordinated appearance at the protests last weekend and have been welcomed into the fold by demonstrators, as has the group of dads that showed up Monday night.
The moms have been trying to separate protesters and the federal officers, as well as helping people wash their eyes and recover from exposure to tear gas. Their close proximity to the action means they're often the first to feel the effects of crowd control munitions.
"Coming out, you kind of know what to expect in a way," said Courtney, another mom. "But it's nothing compared to childbirth."
Here is a running list of events from Tuesday night, July 21:
Officers identified over loud speaker as being from the Federal Protective Service deployed gas and other crowd-control munitions to push remaining protesters away from the federal courthouse. The announcement said the situation has been declared an "unlawful assembly."
Federal officers marched down Fourth Avenue and stopped in front of City Hall. More officers started using tear gas, pepper balls and other crowd-control munitions at the federal courthouse as officers attempted to push the crowd to the west.
More than 1,000 people gathered outside of the federal courthouse and the Justice Center. Many were with the "Wall of Moms" group, chanting slogans calling for the removal of "racist cops" from law enforcement agencies.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Readers can find its story with video here.
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