Peaceful day of Portland protests ends in clashes

Multnomah County

5th night of protests in Portland, June 2, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The sun went down on a day of peaceful protests throughout Portland on Tuesday but ultimately ended in clashes as police once again declared an unlawful assembly as some people lit fireworks and threw objects at officers.

The city’s fifth night of protests began with two large groups holding peaceful demonstrations in various parts of Portland. Thousands gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square while another large crowd marched back and forth across the Burnside Bridge. Hundreds more gathered for a peaceful march earlier in the day in Tualatin.

The thousands who marched across the Burnside Bridge stopped to lie face down on the ground for nine minutes of silence — the same amount of time as the officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. They eventually merged with the second large group at Pioneer Courthouse Square where speakers shared their personal experiences and called for justice, peace and change for black America.

The previous night’s large protest remained peaceful, prompting Mayor Ted Wheeler’s decision to not impose a curfew Tuesday night.

Photos: 5th night of Portland protests, June 2, 2020

These peaceful demonstrations lasted for hours until just after 9 p.m. when Portland police said “criminal activity” occurred at SW 4th and Taylor. Officers later praised the groups who had remained peaceful all day but said a splinter group in the hundreds tried to tear down boundary fencing protecting the area around the Justice Center. Police said the group also threw bottles, mortars, bats and fireworks at officers, at which point they were warned that if they didn’t leave, police would resort to riot control measures.

While the situation didn’t deteriorate further into a riot, small clashes between these protesters and police continued into the early morning hours of Wednesday. Police systematically moved from street to street, emptying tear gas canisters and using flash bangs to disperse those who remained downtown. A large crowd again attempted to gather peacefully at Pioneer Courthouse Square but, as an unlawful assembly had been declared, they were ultimately forced to leave the area.

Police said they made multiple arrests throughout the night, though the exact number is unclear. They continued to ask for compliance and thanked those who obeyed requests to leave the area.

Below is a timeline as protests in and around Portland unfold Tuesday, June 2, 2020:

2 a.m.

Most groups had dispersed at this point, police say over a dozen arrests were made by the end of the night. More information on those arrests is forthcoming.

12:30 a.m.

Police declare an unlawful assembly and begin firing tear gas and flash grenades in response to people lighting fireworks and throwing objects at officers.

12:15 a.m.

Police say demonstrators are throwing explosives and causing destruction at SW Broadway and Morrison.

12 a.m.

Fire crews are responding to a dumpster fire that spread to a nearby tree at SW 2nd and Alder, according to Portland Fire & Rescue. Firefighters are asking people to let them through so they can extinguish the fire and keep it from spreading to a building.

Police said the fire was out less than 15 minutes later.

11:30 p.m.

Protesters are throwing projectiles at officers on the other side of the barrier fence. Fireworks are going off in the crowd. Police respond with flashbangs.

The PPB declares an unlawful assembly and orders protesters to leave the area immediately. They say people should disperse to the north or face arrest or other riot control agents and impact munitions.

Officers say they’ve made “multiple arrests.”

11:15 p.m.

Hundreds of people left the Pioneer Courthouse Square area and marched to the fencing surrounding the Justice Center, where they started shouting and chanting at a line of officers in riot gear. The largest part of the crowd is congregating near SW 4th and Salmon.

10:50 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters peacefully regrouped at Pioneer Courthouse Square, while others headed back east on Burnside. Police officers maintained a presence in the area.

10:25 p.m.

Portland police are asking all people in the downtown area to leave immediately “due to criminal activity.” Portland firefighters urge all peaceful protesters to obey police orders and head north from Pioneer Square to Burnside, then east over the bridge.

Portland Police Chief Jami Resch posted a video on Twitter thanking those who remained peaceful during demonstrations. She said a smaller group of several hundred people split off from the larger crowd and tried to tear down the fence surrounding the core area around the Justice Center.

The group then threw projectiles at officers and were warned to stop but, when they didn’t, riot control measures were used.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office tweeted a peaceful group left east over the Burnside Bridge. Deputies said those wanting to safely leave the downtown area should head west, north or east away from the Pioneer Courthouse Square area.

10:05 p.m.

Thousands of people are leaving the area to march peacefully back east over the Burnside Bridge. Officers say a growing crowd near the Justice Center is still throwing objects at police.

A silver pickup truck seemed to purposefully antagonize a group of officers in riot gear, moving in reverse toward officers then darting away. It’s unclear whether the driver eventually left the area.

9:40 p.m.

Portland police call the thousands of people gathered near SW 4th and Taylor an “unlawful assembly.” Officers are demanding the group disperse. KOIN 6 News captured some people spray painting security cameras in the area.

The Portland Police Bureau says a group of hundreds gathered along the fencing set up around the Multnomah County Justice Center. Officers say they were “repeatedly warned to not tamper with the fencing or force would be used.” The group started to throw objects at the officers, including bottles, mortars, bats and fireworks. Officers said they were told to leave or be subject to “riot control agents and impact munitions.”

9:15 p.m.

Portland police say “criminal activity” occurred at SW 4th and Taylor. Officers respond with flashbangs and tear gas. KOIN 6 News crews watch some protesters throw fireworks. Many of those associated with the peaceful demonstrations going since earlier in the day criticize those responsible for the shift in the night’s tone. The majority of the protesters are moving on. Many say “this is not us, this is not us” and express frustration.

9:10 p.m.

A caravan of vehicles is driving through the area, handing out water and snacks to protesters who need it.

8:30 p.m.

Thousands of people — many of whom are wearing face coverings — pack the square, listening to speakers as they share their thoughts and experiences over a bullhorn.

The Portland Police Bureau tweets, “The two earlier demonstrations have merged into one at Pioneer Courthouse Sq and the surrounding streets. This is an extremely large and peaceful crowd. All vehicles should avoid this area to ensure the safety of all.”

7:45 p.m.

A pickup truck nearly hits several protesters as it appears to speed through the area of NW 4th and Burnside. KOIN 6 News caught the incident on camera. No one appears to be hurt.

7:15 p.m.

About 1,000 people are in Pioneer Courthouse Square, listening and sharing their personal stories of racial injustice.

6:50 p.m.

Protesters walk west on Burnside, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” and “what’s his name? George Floyd.” Some people are passing out pamphlets titled “Five Demands for the Movement Against Police Violence.” The papers call on police to “surrender, empty the precincts, disarm and defund the police” and “stand down, end curfews and road closures, withdraw the National Guard.”

As the group crossed back over the Burnside Bridge, they stopped to stage a die-in by laying face down on the ground for nine minutes in remembrance of George Floyd.

6 p.m.

A large crowd is making is way east across the Burnside Bridge.

5:45 p.m.

Protesters gather in Southeast Portland at 13th and Stark. There are reports of a large group in Downtown Portland joining them. Caesar “the no drama llama” is also there.

4:45 p.m.

People are beginning to gather around Portland, including at Pioneer Courthouse Square and 10th and Burnside. The gatherings are peaceful.

4 p.m.

Hundreds of people gathered in Tualatin earlier in the afternoon and marched peacefully along a two-mile loop through the streets, many holding “Black Lives Matter” signs. The Cabelas store was boarded up as a precaution but the situation remained calm. The event wrapped up at about 5 p.m.

The Tualatin Police Department thanked the group “for staying peaceful, while standing up for what you believe. We are proud to have such wonderful people in Tualatin. We stand by you and support you.”

2 p.m.

As part of security measures for the downtown protests, westbound traffic is closed on the Hawthorne Bridge. However the bridge sidewalks are open, as are the eastbound lanes. Officials said the westbound lanes will be closed until later this week and suggest using the Morrison Bridge as the alternate route.

Peaceful Portland protesters seek ‘justice, freedom’
Wheeler: ‘Small handful of rioters hurt our city’
Photos: Protesters number in the thousands on 4th night
Video: The voices of the demonstrators

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