PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A night that started with a reported shooting and a bag containing loaded rifle magazines and Molotov cocktails amid a peaceful protest — morphed into an intense early morning confrontation between demonstrators and law enforcement in Oregon’s largest city.
U.S. agents repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls early Monday to clear a mass of protesters outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland. Some protesters had climbed over the fence surrounding the courthouse, while others shot fireworks, banged on the fence and projected lights on the building.
The federal courthouse has been a place of contention as the city has seen nightly protests for two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. President Donald Trump said he sent federal agents to Portland to halt the unrest but state and local officials said they are making the situation worse.
The protest late Sunday started peacefully, with organizers giving speeches and leading chants with the crowd. But things intensified as the night wore on. U.S. agents declared an “unlawful assembly,” and just after 1 a.m., confronted protesters on the street and worked to clear the area. Several people were seen being detained, but it was not immediately clear how many may have been arrested.