Protesters in Portland, Oregon are said to have threatened to torch a police station, hours after law enforcement cleared out a street encampment. The acting Homeland Security chief has arrived in the city to assess the situation.
Demonstrators descended on several areas in downtown Portland on Thursday evening, with dozens of activists surrounding the Portland Police Bureau’s Southeast Precinct building. Officers requested that demonstrators vacate the area after they “heard chants stating the crowd around Southeast Precinct wants to enter the property and burn down the precinct.” The police force warned that anyone who trespasses on the property would be subject to arrest and crowd control munitions.
In a livestream operated by the Portland police, protesters could be heard chanting that they will “burn it down” if they do not receive “justice.”
Elsewhere in the city, federal law enforcement officers deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators. Footage shows protesters fleeing as officers clear the streets.
Federal law enforcement officers have deployed several canisters of tear gas, sending protesters fleeing. #koin6news#PDX#protest#PNW#protesters#Oregon#RoseCity#BLM#Portland#policepic.twitter.com/VLUrS6KfUM
The standoff comes less than a day after law enforcement cleared out two parks that had been claimed as part of an “autonomous zone” by protesters.
The interim head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, arrived in the city on Thursday to meet with federal law enforcement officials about the growing unrest. In a statement, Wolf condemned the “rampant long-lasting violence” in Portland, and described the protesters as “violent anarchists” and a “violent mob.”
For weeks, Portland has seen nightly demonstrations that have often resulted in clashes with police and arrests. Much of the violence has taken place around the city’s federal courthouse, which has been under siege by demonstrators.
Federal law enforcement make an arrest of an antifa black bloc militant. Notice how the camera person says “NLG will get you out.” @NLGnews is a lawyers’ organization historically close to American communists. They operate as the legal wing of antifa. pic.twitter.com/lM9KmwDtD4
Federal officers have come under fire after videos emerged showing them seizing protesters off the street and forcing them into unmarked vans. The tactic has been described as “kidnapping” and news reports claim that the demonstrators were interrogated and then released without being charged with a formal crime.
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