Federal troops pull out of Portland protests as state police take over
Some people attempted to start fires at the courthouse again on Friday, but other protesters put them out, as a few hundred people demonstrated until around 3 a.m., Portland police said in a statement, adding that there had been no arrests.
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On previous nights, federal agents fired tear gas and other munitions to disperse crowds after “die-hard anarchists” fired commercial fireworks and hurled chemicals and incendiary devices, the Chief of the American Border Patrol Rodney Scott.
“Now we have a partnership, the state is doing its job, we are doing our job,” Scott said in an interview.
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Trump sent federal forces to confront what he called a “hive of terrorists” that had started fires and smashed windows at the Portland courthouse since late May, when protests against police violence began after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Democratic mayors said the deployment had escalated tensions during largely peaceful anti-racist protests and was the political scene of Trump’s “law and order” campaign ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
Portland Arrests’ ‘Protest Bans’ Must Be Reviewed in US Federal Court
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As injuries escalated and hundreds of suburban mothers, veterans and healthcare workers joined the protests, Governor Kate Brown on Thursday sent state police to the courthouse and police from Portland cleaned up a park used as a gathering place.
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“Last night the world was watching Portland. 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 through peaceful, non-violent protests, ”Brown tweeted.
Activists like Rashelle Chase were hoping they could resume their efforts to reform the Portland police force, which clashed with protesters ahead of the federal wave in early July.
“Violence breeds violence when federal agents use assault against a vast majority of people who are not violent,” said Chase, 39, a black mother and early childhood educator.
Portland officials took action this week to respond to protesters’ demands, with city council approving a November ballot measure to revise police oversight.
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Trump on Friday promised more money to national police chiefs who complained about laws limiting their power.
“We are the opposite of defund,” Trump said at a White House event.
Department of Homeland Security agents remained on standby in Portland and National Guard troops could be dispatched if state police overrun, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News .
Trump administration says federal agents will stay in Portland on hold
A DHS spokesperson said Wolf ordered his agency to stop collecting information from journalists covering the protests after the Washington Post reported the practice.
When asked if the deployment was part of larger operations against anarchists and anti-fascists, Scott said there were “significant concerns and threats” against law enforcement that his agency had learned about. more through the Portland events.
Clashes with federal agents continue in Portland
He said officers there were sometimes faced with “chaos” in which it was difficult to distinguish between “legitimate protesters” and “impostors”, citing an example of someone with a written “press” on his chest filming at one point and assaulting an officer next.
“We would not and would never attempt to systematically follow or monitor legitimate journalists or protesters,” he said of the intelligence gathering. “It’s a very, very gray area when that same person starts attacking you.”
(Reporting by Deborah Bloom in Portland; Additional reporting by Andrew Hay, Lisa Lambert and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)