Portland on Tuesday witnessed the 62nd night of protests following the death of George Floyd – when hundreds of protesters reunited with the federal courthouse and some fireworks – urging federal officials to launch tear gas to force them to disperse.
The conflict has become commonplace, and several speakers and activists across the street in Lawnsdale Park have urged crowds not to communicate with federal law enforcement because, as they do so, they are only further distracting from the Black Blacks Matter movement.
“If you really want to respect Black’s life, and if you really want to respect Breona Taylor and George Floyd, you̵7;re going to listen to the movement, not resist,” said 22-year-old Portlander Naji Gow to people starting to gather along the fence near the courthouse. 21:45
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A crowd of several hundred people will eventually gather on Third Avenue SW, mostly concentrated outside the U.S. Mark Hatfield Court and the Mulnomah County Justice Center.
People blocked traffic in the area for several hours. During this time, people in the crowd gave speeches, shouted, chanted and knocked on the fence surrounding the courthouse, following the events compiled by the Portland Police Bureau.
Federal officers in the courtroom periodically issued warnings to people not to damage the fence. After the light bulbs were flipped over and the building was shown light, federal officers laid down tear gas and used a hose to spray the sidewalk near the fence, mixing chemical agents on the ground the night before, the Oregonian reported.
The same Portland commissioner’s fence, Chloe Edley, said the city fines the federal government $ 500 every 15 minutes when it blocks the bike lane on SW Third Avenue. Earlier on Tuesday, Evdali, who heads the city’s transportation bureau, said the bill was $ 192,000 and counts.
People in the crowd on Tuesday night wore gas masks and helmets, and carried badges, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, umbrellas, blowers and fireworks. Police said people started a fire inside the fence around 10:45 pm and started firing Roman candles and other commercial-grade fireworks in the courthouse. People also threw rocks, bottles and other objects and climbed over the fence. A large fire was set on fire, where a statue of the Moose stood in the park across the road.
Police said the crowd began around 1:38 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has begun talks with the Oregon governor’s office and said it would attract the presence of federal agents sent to quell a two-month chaotic protest in Portland if the state strengthens its own enforcement, a senior White House official said Tuesday.
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The official stressed to the Associated Press that talks with the office of the government’s Democrat Kate Brown are in the early stages and there is no agreement. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Just the day before, the US Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security were considering whether to send more agents. The marshals have taken steps to identify up to 100 additional personnel who could go in case they need to fire or add deputy marshals working in Oregon, said spokesman Drew Wade. Internal security considered a similar measure with customs and border guards
Night protests in Portland were often violent as protesters targeted a U.S. courthouse in Oregon’s largest city with rocks, fireworks and laser pointers, while federal agents responded with tear gas, less deadly ammunition and arrests.
“As you know, we’ve done a great job of watching Portland and monitoring our courthouse where they wanted to burn it down. They’re anarchists, nothing but anarchist agitators,” Trump said. “And we defended it very strongly. And if we didn’t go there, I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t have a trial. You’d have a billion-dollar building burned down.”
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The incident occurred when the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon filed a statement alleging that U.S. paramilitary agents were attacking journalists and legitimate observers with riot control munitions, despite a federal court ordering them to stop. It was filed after U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday defended the federation’s aggressive response to Congress, saying “violent riots and anarchists have stolen legitimate protests” caused by Floyd’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.