Night 56: More protests, fireworks and tear gas in Portland
Protesters stuck together overnight as they chanted after federal troops used tear gas and flashbangs several times against demonstrators, some of whom launched fireworks and started a few fires outside of the federal courthouse during an otherwise peaceful protest that had been attended by thousands.
Upwards of 2,000 people gathered in the area of the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue on Thursday, July 23, the 56th consecutive night of protests in the city. KOIN 6 News saw sporadic fireworks launched outside of the courthouse and a few fires lit just past the reinforced fence.
Federal officers reinforced a fence surrounding the federal building after Wednesday night's protest. They saw countless objects thrown over it, including flaming objects that started fires inside the fenced area. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was among those who were in the crowd on Wednesday night when the tear gas started, following a chaotic "listening session" at which he was jeered and booed.
Rallies, a march and a bike-ride demonstration took place elsewhere in Portland earlier Thursday. The Portland National Association of the NAACP held a rally on the steps of the Justice Center, while two other demonstrations took place on the east side of the city. The NAACP said its goal was to "re-center our efforts and consolidate our message" to keep the Black Lives Matter movement alive.
Here is a timeline of events from Thursday, July 23:
Federal law enforcement agencies dispersed members of the media near Southwest Salmon and Third Ave. after tear gas was deployed at multiple city blocks surrounding the Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Evidence of pepper balls and other crowd control munitions, like multiple types of tear gas, smoke munition and flash bangs were found near area streets. There appeared to be groups of protesters clashing with federal police at nearby city blocks.
Hundreds remained at the demonstration outside of the courthouse following the first round of tear gas just after 12:50 a.m. Some protesters continued to light fireworks and a few fires behind the fence surrounding the courthouse, and federal officers used tear gas and flashbangs around 1:15 a.m. The protesters continued to chant "Stay together, stay tight. We do this every night."
Federal troops launched tear gas just after 12:50 a.m. after more than an hour of sporadic fireworks lit by protesters toward the federal courthouse. A few small fires were set. Hundreds of people stayed in the street and park blocks and speeches from the NAACP concluded shortly after midnight.
Speakers continued to address upwards of 2,000 people gathered on Third Avenue. Federal agents re-erected the fence around the federal courthouse earlier in the day. Federal officers had not made an appearance.
As many as 2,000 demonstrators have gathered in the street and park blocks across from the Justice Center and the federal courthouse. Upside-down American flags were being waved by some in the crowd. Members of the "Wall of Moms" also were present, wearing their recognizable yellow shirts and bike helmets.
Earlier Thursday evening:
A group marched from Irving Park to Alberta Park on Thursday evening as part of the "Marching for Housing Equity" event hosted by the PDX Black Youth Movement.
Another event called "Ride the Redline" started at Irving Park. According to the website PDX Black Lives Matter Events, bike riders planned to make various stops at places within Portland's Albina District, the historic location of Portland's African American community in inner North and Northeast.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Readers can find their story with video here.
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