PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Portland in thesecond straight night of unrest, mirroring the dozens of other protests in other major US cities.
Protesters from coast to coast took to the streets over the death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
At least 48 people were arrested during the protest, police said, ranging in age from 19-49. A total of 26 people were charged with curfew violations, but all of them faced other, more serious charges, including riot, burglary and disorderly conduct. Another 9 minors were detained and released to their parents on charges including curfew violation, riot, disorderly conduct, riot, burglary, theft.
Though the crowds were split into smaller groups, there were pockets of intense activity still going on in different areas around 11 p.m.
PPB worked in partnership with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Washougal Police Department, and Oregon State Police, authorities said.
The action began ramping up around 6 p.m. when about 500 people gathered outside the Justice Center in an almost immediate confrontation with police. Demonstrators chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and cars honked their horns as they drove by.
Police used different tactics Saturday, wasting no time in dispersing the crowd and breaking it up into much smaller factions. They continued using that tactic — dispersing crowds quickly and not letting them form into bigger, more volatile mobs.
Flash bangs were used early and often, loudspeakers told the protesters to “leave the park now” and tensions mounted.
Around 8:30 p.m., PPB Chief Jami Resch said the protest was now officially a “civil disturbance.” About an hour later, another unlawful assembly was declared in the Lloyd District neighborhood.
Police in tactical gear rode vehicles and used loudspeakers to inform the crowd the curfew was in effect and they were subject to arrest if they didn’t leave.
But no one left.
Crowds reformed along SW 4th Avenue in two separate spots north and south of Alder, along the waterfront and at NW 3rd and W. Burnside outside the Union Gospel Mission, where protesters were seen throwing items and spray painting as the 8 p.m. curfew began.
More flash bangs were dispersed around SW 4th and Alder around 8:30 p.m., which scattered protesters.
The familiar chant of “Whose streets? Our streets!” was heard as one group of protesters marched around SW 3rd and Salmon.
However, around 9 p.m. the crowds had thinned considerably. That did not mean the protesters were gone. Police continued to block streets, move protesters and try to maintain control.
At one point, an alarm was heard going off at the Louis Vuitton store, which was vandalized and looted Friday night.
In a video tweet at 9:47 p.m. Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said, ““We need to restore peace in Downtown PDX.. the demonstration has been declared a civil disturbance. Those in the area are ordered to disperse. We must do everything we can to keep our community safe. We have called in all available deputies to assist.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a State of Emergency and imposed a curfew on the city after a night of destructive protests damaged downtown businesses and set fire to the Justice Center. The curfew is in effect from 8 p.m. Saturday night until 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
Under the curfew, all residents are prohibited from travelling on any public streets. City leaders want to avoid a repeat of what KOIN 6 News reporters witnessed first-hand while on the ground reporting Friday night.
It started Friday night with the destruction of the Justice Center. Protesters smashed out the glass windows and got inside the building, trashing the office space and started a fire before police could clear the building with gas, according to law enforcement.