Members of Antifa trashed Portland, Oregon, again on Friday as part of a New Year’s Day riot that resulted in looted businesses and fires.
CBS-affiliate KOIN reported that a riot was declared in downtown Portland Thursday night as Antifa gathered and threw fireworks and Molotov cocktails. They also broke windows, set fires, and looted businesses in what amounts to at least tens of thousands of dollars of damage.
“At least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement the following day. “Large, commercial grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. Some individuals tried to use tools to break into the Justice Center but were not successful.”
On Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has allowed Antifa to run rampant in his city for years with little pushback, condemned the violent left-wing group for its actions on New Year’s Eve and Day.
“The who: violent antifa and anarchists,” the mayor said in a press conference, according to KOIN.
“Why? This is the hardest question of all to answer,” Wheeler added. “Why would a group of largely white, young and some middle age men destroy the livelihood of others who are struggling to get by?”
“It is hard for me to accept that there are some people who are just bent on destruction,” he added.
Wheeler eventually admitted that his lax approach to the extremist group hasn’t worked and that he would now start to take real action against the rioters.
“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler said at the press conference. “In response it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”
As KOIN reported, Wheeler committed the three things following the riots:
“Federal, state, county and local law enforcement to convene to deal with anarchist violence. as soon as possible,” even next week.
Calling on state legislature to increase penalties for repeat offenders
“I believe people convicted of criminal destruction be required to meet with those whose businesses they damaged,” Wheeler said, “and be required to do public service.”
At the same press conference, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese also condemned the violence.
“It was reprehensible violence that occurred last night, and we’re going to do everything we can to hold the people responsible,” Reese said.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell added that police were attacked during the riot.
“Last night was extremely challenging for our officers. A group of officers came under attack. It was a very violent, very large confrontation and the group met them with Molotov cocktails, rocks, bricks, frozen water bottles,” he said.
Federal and local officers were eventually able to stop the rioters, but not before massive property destruction.