Portland police forced to defend federal courthouse against attack from protesters: Report

Protesters in Portland, Oregon were at it again on the Fourth of July.

According to CBS affiliate KOIN 6 in Portland, a riot was declared when protesters launched an attack on the Hatfield Federal Courthouse early Saturday.

“Shields and sticks”

The situation began around 11 p.m. on July 3, when hundreds of demonstrators gathered around the Justice Center, according to a press release from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). The protesters reportedly marched around Waterfront Park for about 45 minutes before heading over to the Southwest 3rd Avenue, where the courthouse is located.

Just before 1 a.m. on July 4, the violence started. “Around 12:53 a.m., a few of the demonstrators began throwing rocks at the Federal Courthouse building,” the PPB said in its release. “Some of these rocks broke windows. At around 1:30 a.m., some demonstrators began shooting the commercial-grade fireworks towards the Justice Center. Many demonstrators were carrying makeshift shields and sticks.”

According to the statement, protesters also attempted to construct a fence, while others set small fires and some even got into fights with one another.

A riot declared

This went on for several hours, according to the PPB statement, though police “stayed away from the demonstrators, as there was not an identified life safety risk.”

By 4 a.m., another, apparently more serious, attack was launched on the courthouse — and that’s when the PPB declared a riot.

“At about 4 a.m., the Federal courthouse was attacked,” the PPB release reads. “A riot was declared and efforts were made to get the crowd to disperse, including numerous warnings to leave the area or be subject to arrest or force.”

The situation remained active until about 6 a.m. when things calmed down, according to KOIN 6.

Enough is enough

The incident marked the third time this week that a riot had to be declared in downtown Portland, according to the New York Post. The demonstrations come in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in late May, as The New York Times reported.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, for his part, has decried the actions of the protesters and called for an end to the violence.

“These attacks undermine public safety in our community, and they harm the very people and businesses we need to be lifting up,” the mayor said, according to KOIN 6. For now, however, it seems his pleas are falling on deaf ears.

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