/Portland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished | TheHill

Portland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished | TheHill

Two protesters were arrested Saturday evening in Portland, Ore., as demonstrators and law enforcement clashed for the first time in several days.

The Associated Press reported that a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement occurred near a precinct for the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Officers alleged they were struck with glass bottles and had laser pointers aimed in their direction. No officers were injured, including one who was struck with a canister of paint, according to the AP.

Police reportedly declared an unlawful assembly just before 10 p.m. local time and ordered crowds to disperse.

Across town a separate, peaceful demonstration hosted by the NAACP and attended by Oregon Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyNew York police confirm arrest of protester in unmarked van Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was ‘unprovoked escalation’ | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D) was held outside the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse. Speakers talked about political progress arising from the weeks of demonstrations in the city and others across the U.S.

Photos taken by the AP showed a small fire outside the courthouse, apparently set by a protester, being doused by officers.

“The next thing we need you to do is vote like your life depends on it, because guess what, it does,” Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told demonstrators at the courthouse, according to the AP.

Demonstrations in the city have largely remained peaceful over the last several days as the federal law enforcement presence began withdrawing from city streets. 

City officials and state leaders had sharply criticized the Trump administration’s decision to deploy agents from the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, accusing federal law enforcement of inflaming tensions in the city. Images and videos posted on social media that showed federal agents wearing unmarked uniforms detaining protesters off the street in the city had sparked outrage last month.

Protests against racism and police brutality have continued for months in numerous American cities following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in late May. One white officer is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s case.

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