Portland protesters, led by the “anti-Fascist” group Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, threatened police and set a number of fires in the city’s downtown Saturday night, leaving Portland police to declare the demonstration a “riot.”
The incidents, caught on video by reporters on the scene, marked the 52nd night of unrest in Portland.
Friday night, federal officers — members of an elite Customs and Border Protection unit moved in to assist Portland’s law enforcement officers in protecting a federal courthouse, one of the rioters’ top targets these past several months. The officers detained several of the protesters Friday night but were largely absent Saturday night, leaving Portland police to handle the unrest alone.
“Protesters broke into a building, set it on fire and started dumpster fires late Saturday night in Oregon’s largest city,” Fox News reported. “The fire at the Portland Police Association building was put out a short time later, Portland police said on Twitter. The department declared the gathering a riot, and began working to clear the downtown area.”
“In North Portland, the PNW Youth Liberation Front, an organized group that has been leading demonstrations over the course of the past two months, hosted a protest to demand the abolition of the Portland Police Bureau and decry violence against people of color. After an evening gathering at Peninsula Park, marchers headed south on Interstate Avenue, stretching out for about five blocks,” Oregon Live added.
The group eventually ended up at the Portland police union headquarters. They then began tipping Dumpsters to form a barricade for themselves as they attacked the building. Two of the Dumpsters were set on fire, and protesters who breached the building eventually set two small fires inside.
By 10:45, Portland police declared the incident a “riot,” and “[a]round 11:15 p.m., police began pressing protesters to the east. Most protesters did not resist. Police took multiple people into custody,” Oregon Live reported.
Video of the protests and the subsequent fires made it on to social media quickly.
The march has arrived at the Police Union building in Northeast Portland. There are some dumpsters knocked over, but visible police presence. #blacklivesmatter #protest #pdx #portland #oregon #blm #acab #PortlandProtest #PDXprotest #PortlandPolice pic.twitter.com/9SQzxwqrAz
— Garrison Davis (Teargas Proof) (@hungrybowtie) July 19, 2020
The Portland Police union in north Portland was broken into and set on fire by antifa rioters. A riot has been declared. pic.twitter.com/kp9JucufA3
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 19, 2020
Some protesters returned to the federal courthouse early Sunday morning to create a barricade from pieces of fencing, but police had, by then, cleared the scene.
Part of the wood protecting the courthouse in Portland has been broken and a man is trying to make the hole bigger while bashing the wall inside.
Meanwhile, people continue to bring the fencing back.
Police have still not returned. pic.twitter.com/tUew07YIgo
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) July 19, 2020
Protesters and Portland city officials — and even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — decried federal efforts to assist in handling the riots, repeating claims, first raised by demonstrators, that federal agents, without badges or insignia, were “disappearing” protesters, whisking them away in unmarked vehicles to undisclosed locations.
The CBP address those concerns on Saturday, noting that federal agents had been deployed to assist in defending the federal courthouse in Portland, but that CBP officer uniforms did bear the insignia of the Department of Homeland Security. One protester was, indeed, taken to a second location, but, CBP says, not to hide the detainment, but rather to avoid a “large” mob that was advancing on officers.
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