Portland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence shrinking

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Two protesters were arrested Saturday night in Portland as protesters and law enforcement clashed for the first time in days.The Associated Press reported that a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement occurred near a police station operated by the Portland Police Force and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Officers alleged they were hit with glass bottles and had laser pointers pointed in their direction. No officer was injured, including one who was hit with a paint canister, according to the AP.

Police reportedly declared a gathering illegal just before 10 p.m. local time and ordered crowds to disperse.

Across town, a separate peaceful protest organized by the NAACP and attended by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkeley (D) took place outside the courthouse of Mark O. Hatfield. Speakers spoke of the political progress flowing from weeks of protests in the city and others across the United States

Photos taken by the PA showed a small fire outside the courthouse, apparently started by a protester, watered by police.

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

Protests in the city have largely remained peaceful over the past few days, as federal law enforcement has begun to withdraw from the city’s streets.

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

Protests against racism and police brutality have continued for months in many American cities after the death of George Floyd, a black man in custody in Minneapolis in late May. A white officer is charged with second degree murder in Floyd’s case.



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