Sunday night brought some of the most peaceful protests Portland, Oregon, has seen in more than two months, but while law enforcement officials were left hopeful that major riots are now behind them, Portland’s demonstrators are reportedly left “frustrated” with the smaller turnout.
The 67th day of demonstrations in Portland, most held outside of the city’s federal courthouse, drew just a few hundred protesters, according to Oregon Live, and few ran into trouble with local police — a far cry from just a week ago, when agents from an elite force of the Customs and Border Protection agency struggled to keep the unrest under control and preserve the courthouse from vandalism and arson.
“By 10 p.m., about 400 people stood in and around the city parks where protesters have gathered nightly since the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd sparked a nationwide protest movement more than two months ago,” Oregon Live noted. “They gathered in dispersed groups; one group held a candlelight vigil while another listened to speakers talk about the state of the protests.”
The weekend wasn’t without difficulty; a protest Saturday night, targeting a residential neighborhood just outside of downtown Portland, turned violent and attracted a police presence. The demonstration was, officials said, marred by a number of protesters, who were not members of the media, wearing gear marked “press” in order to evade arrest for the attempted destruction of property.
Sunday, though, only a few protesters showed up during the day; a dozen or so gathered outside of the local Whole Foods, where employees were reportedly reprimanded for wearing buttons bearing a political slogan, per Oregon Live.
Although most groups were heartened by what appears to be the end of riots, at least some protesters, bent on confronting racism through more aggressive means, were reportedly left “frustrated” by the lack of continuing interest in their efforts.
“In the latest gatherings Sunday night, an estimated 400 people came together to demonstrate against police violence and racism, chanting slogans like ‘Defund the police’ and ‘stay woke’ in front of a federal courthouse that has been at the center of violent clashes in recent weeks,” Fox News noted.
“Yet some of the protesters expressed disappointment and frustration at the declining turnout,” Fox continued. “There were no reported arrests.”
“Speakers in the park nearby made plain their disappointment that the evening drew so few people,” the Oregonian noted.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that they would begin a “drawdown” of federal forces in Portland amid concerns that the mere presence of CBP agents was inflaming the situation. Although DHS has yet to officially depart the city, they say they are gradually pulling officers as the Oregon State Police and Portland Police Department take over protection duties for the courthouse.