The change of tone outside a federal courthouse that has become the ground zero for clashes between protesters and federal agents came after the U.S. government began withdrawing forces from the liberal city as part of a deal between the governor Democrat, Kate Brown, and the Trump administration.The fence that separated protesters and US officers stationed at the courthouse was decorated with upside down balloons and US flags sewn with “BLM” painted across.
At one point in the night, a small fireworks display was fired over the fence. As he sizzled on his own, the protesters pleaded with others to stay peaceful. Later, a few small fires were occasionally started outside the courthouse, at least one of which was put out by other protesters.
Unlike in previous weeks, the protesters were not concentrated mainly outside the courthouse, but scattered around the city center.
Under the deal announced by the governor, the agents will step down.
The US government had arrested 94 people on Wednesday, according to the latest count. Since the protests began, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell has said local police have made more than 400 arrests.
As United States Customs and Border Protection officers, the United States Marshals Service and the Immigration and Customs Service (Ice) have withdrawn, soldiers from the State Police of Oregon have taken over. Since then, there has been no visible sign of a federal law enforcement presence outside the Mark O Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
In a tweet Friday evening, Donald Trump reiterated that the Department of Homeland Security “will not leave Portland until the local police have finished cleaning up anarchists and attackers!” ”
“Last night the world was watching Portland,” Brown said in a tweet Friday. “Here’s what they saw: Federal troops left downtown. Local officials have protected freedom of expression. And Oregonians have spoken out for Black Lives Matter, racial justice, and police accountability. “
Oregon leaders are pushing for a range of measures to tackle systemic racism in everything from policing to housing. These proposals could be expedited for consideration in a special legislative session this summer.
The governor also announced the creation of a Racial Justice Council to advise her on criminal justice reform and police accountability, health equity, economic opportunity, housing and homelessness, and environmental justice.
Portland City Council also voted this week to return a voting measure to voters in November that would create an independent police review board of any elected official or city department.
The scene outside the Federal Courthouse contrasted sharply with the fierce clashes between protesters and agents Trump sent to Oregon’s largest city in early July. Protests rocked Portland for more than two months after the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.