Downtown Portland erupts into violence for second night in a row
Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Portland Saturday night for the second consecutive night of protests, less than a full day after Friday's initial, peaceful protests turned into rioting and looting until dawn.
Tribune reporter Zane Sparling and photojournalist Jonathan House stayed on the scene as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's 8 p.m. curfew went into effect.
Sparling described pandemonium in Waterfront Park as police fired rounds of tear gas at fleeing protesters. Officers also deployed flash bangs and rubber bullets earlier in the day, while clearing out several parks near City Hall. Police in full riot gear ordered crowds to "go home now" as loudhailers boomed through the night.
Protesters spray-painted obscenities on downtown stores, as they had the night before. Widespread looting, however, was not reported during the Saturday, May 30 event.
The Portland Police Bureau announced 48 arrests by early Sunday, saying clusters of protesters had been ordered to disperse both in the central city and near Lloyd Center mall across the Willamette River in Northeast Portland.
"We fully support the right to protest peacefully, and we are committed to protecting that right," said Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, "but when those who choose to committ criminal activity put other lives and properties at risk, we must do everything we can to keep our community safe."
While members of the news media were expressly exempted from Mayor Wheeler's curfew, several members of the media, including journalist Sergio Olmos, reported being told to leave by officers.
"Though media is exempt from curfew, we want to remind you to obey all orders from officers during the demonstration," police later said in a tweet. "If officers are asking crowds to disperse, then you must also."
Similar protests took place throughout the nation — including outside the White House in Washington, D.C. The unrest was prompted by the in-custody murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd. Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, planted a knee in Floyd's neck while arresting him for nearly nine minutes. Floyd, on a widely distributed video, could be heard saying, "I can't breathe." He died of suffocation. Chauvin has been fired and arrested on charges of third-degree murder.
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