Protesters rally in Portland as mayor decries violence

Protesters rally in Portland as mayor decries violence
Racial Injustice Portland

Violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland have raised tensions in the city days after an agreement between Oregon state and federal officials appeared to bring calm.

More demonstrations took place on Thursday night, hours after the city’s mayor decried the unrest since George Floyd was killed.

“You are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder,” mayor Ted Wheeler said on Thursday in a hastily called news conference alongside Portland Police chief Chuck Lovell.

Mr Wheeler also warned the city anticipates more “attacks on public buildings” in the immediate future.

Portland Police declared an unlawful assembly outside a precinct on Thursday and protesters were ordered to leave.

They had said earlier that they believed the intent of the crowd was to vandalise and burn the building.

Officers worked to clear streets of demonstrators, at times running at the crowd to push people away.  Smoke canisters were also deployed.

Early on Friday, roads near the precinct were closed, police said.

“Any persons including members of the press who violate this order will be subject to arrest,” the department said in a tweet.

“Don’t think for a moment that if you are participating in this activity, you are not being a prop for the re-election campaign of Donald Trump because you absolutely are,” the mayor had said.

“If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up.”

Police stand by during a protest in Portland (Dave Killen /The Oregonian/AP)

The clashes between thousands of protesters and US agents sent by the Trump administration to guard the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse stopped after an agreement between Democratic Governor Kate Brown and the US Department of Homeland Security that called for the agents to begin drawing down their presence in the city centre on July 30.

But after a brief weekend reprieve, protests have continued nightly in other parts of the city, with Portland Police, local sheriff’s deputies and, in some cases, Oregon State Police troopers on the frontline as demonstrators demand an end to police funding.

Protests have gone on unabated in Portland since May 25 following the death of Mr Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him by the neck for nearly eight minutes.

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