Ongoing demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, which have occasionally devolved into violence, exploded into all-out riots on July 4th, as protesters targeted police headquarters, jails, and a federal courthouse.
Nearly a dozen people were arrested Saturday as unrest in the city entered its 38th day, Portland police said. Federal agents arrested at least one person who will likely be charged with trying to destroy a federal building.
Portland police officially declared the situation a “riot” around 11 pm Saturday night, according to Fox News, and were unable to quell the unrest. Per the department’s official social media accounts, Portland police were so consumed with containing the destruction that they were unable to respond to anything other than emergency calls.
“PPB is handling emergency calls only City-wide at this time,” the department tweeted around 11 pm local time. “Many calls for police service are holding in each precinct. We want the crowd downtown to disperse so we can assist community members who need our assistance.”
Police moved against the gathering crowd around 10 pm Saturday night, just as a throng of demonstrators began firing projectiles and fireworks at the federal courthouse towards the center of Portland, where crowds have been gathering for over a month to protest police brutality.
“Shortly after 9 p.m., a crowd of hundreds began congregating on Main Street around the elk fountain. By 9:30, people set off fireworks and burned American flags while speakers addressed the crowd and spoke about colonialism, racism, and police brutality,” Oregon Live reported.
“At 10:35 p.m., police announced orders for protesters to stop directing fireworks at the Justice Center,” the outlet continued. “A short time later, police appeared to set off devices that deployed smoke. Around 11 p.m., police again warned protesters not “to engage with the federal courthouse” and warned them they would be subject to arrest and use of force if they continued.”
Social media users were able to capture some of the incidents live, and Portland police posted a number of the videos to their social media accounts to show the extent of the damage. In one video, officers themselves are targeted with fireworks, one of which explodes just inches from a media officer on duty.
This is some of the video taken by an Officer who was embedded with a Rapid Response Team tonight. The Officer sustained injury from a mortar that exploded near her feet while she was recording. pic.twitter.com/S4JvlXioZc
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 5, 2020
“As officers dispersed the crowd, demonstrators threw bricks, mortars, M-80s, and other flammables towards them. To defend themselves from serious injury, officers used crowd-control munitions and tear gas at this time. Lasers were directed at Officer’s eyes, which is unlawful,” the Portland police department said in a statement. “Despite having moved from the closed area, demonstrators began to trickle back to Southwest 3rd Avenue, starting a large bonfire in the middle of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street 1 a.m.”
Journalist Andy Ngo was able to capture video of the riots as well. His material clearly depicts protesters targeting both the Federal building and local Portland law enforcement.
Rioting in downtown Portland by antifa continues. Federal police used CS gas to clear the violent militants from further attacking the courthouse. Now Portland Police are dispersing them further out as they continue to break business windows and riot. pic.twitter.com/Ra3gIoyeVc
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 5, 2020
Rioting in downtown Portland by antifa. They came fully equipped with shields and explosive fireworks. Federal police (not @PortlandPolice) have used CS gas to forcibly disperse them. It’s working and antifa hate it. pic.twitter.com/MA8f3BRLzO
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 5, 2020
Ultimately, the police stood down.
Much of downtown Portland remains closed and transportation is not running within select borders inside the city.
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