Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined a chorus of officials earlier this week in condemning recent “anarchist” violence in the city’s downtown area and demanded an end to protests and violence that have rocked the city since May of last year.
Notably, the admission and demands follow an uptick of violence centered around a federal courthouse and nearby Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center — some of the same buildings targeted last summer when Wheeler and others expressed solidarity with protesters marching downtown.
“For nearly nine months protesters have called for police reform and an end to systemic racism in Portland, which has become a key city in the country’s racial reckoning,” The Associated Press reported. “While officials say many events have been peaceful, there continues to be small groups smashing windows of businesses, threatening community members, and assaulting police.”
“The community is sick and tired of people engaging in criminal destruction and violence and doing it under the guise of some noble cause,” Wheeler said, forcefully, during the conference Monday.
“The people who work here support the voices of racial and social justice and will not be intimidated from doing our jobs by the ugly graffiti or broken windows,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon added, per the AP. “We do not confuse the voices of the many with the shouts of the few who hope to hold our city hostage by petty crime and violence.”
Police officials also joined the group demanding an end to the violence.
“I want to be clear that this was not a protest group,” Portland’s assistant police chief added. “This was a group of people who have come to believe that they are entitled to damage other people’s property, threaten community members, and assault police officers.”
Other city officials finally noted that the violence has been committed by “anarchists,” though they stopped short of mentioning the term “Antifa,” which refers to self-described “anti-Fascist” elements.
“The misguided and miseducated anarchists reject civility and instead intentionally create mayhem through criminally destructive behavior tearing up our city. This must stop,” a former state senator — the first black woman elected to the post — demanded. “I say to them today, ‘Stop you are not helping, you are hurting Black people.’”
It is not clear what prompted the change in messaging, though it does seem that a recent, second wave of riots pressed Wheeler and others forward, especially given that it’s clear, now, that Portland’s demonstrations did not come to an end with former President Donald Trump’s term. As The Daily Wire reported previously, the downtown courthouse, which Trump protected with the aid of special agents from Customs and Border Protection, is again a “fortress” after being attacked by protesters angry with the Biden administration for not ending illegal immigration deportations.
Federal agents were also forced to intervene back in January when protesters marked President Joe Biden’s inauguration with a destructive riot outside of the city’s Democratic Party Headquarters, and 100 people were detained last week after a march marking the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death descended into chaos.