Riot declared: Portland protesters break windows, set fires

Protests

Protesters gathered around 9 p.m. at Chapman Square

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A riot was declared around 10:50 p.m. by Portland police after protesters in downtown Portland broke windows, shot off fireworks at the federal courthouse and set fires.

Authorities announced people could be subject to “riot control agents” if they don’t leave the area.

Around 11:15 p.m., Portland police advanced on the protesters, who responded by shooting fireworks at them. At the same time, DHS officers faced off against people on SW Main.

Pepper spray or mace was seen being used. The sound of pepper balls, rubber bullets or some type of less lethal munition was heard.

It began around 9 p.m. when a group of protesters gathered in downtown Portland near the police headquarters before marching through the streets and breaking a window at Starbucks at SW 2nd and Main.

The group then marched back to SW 3rd and began shooting off fireworks. By 10:15 p.m, bottles were littered around the entrance to PPB, plus graffiti on the doors and on several other buildings as well. The group banged on crosswalk signs on SW 3rd Avenue.

About 10 minutes later they began shooting fireworks at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse building. A crosswalk sign appeared to be one of several fires spotted around 10:40 p.m. as people banged on the Justice Center.

This man asked for help from police after stepping on glass from debris in the streets during a riot in downtown Portland, December 31, 2020 (KOIN)

It’s unclear what the main thrust of the gathering is, though the flier does state “In Solidarity with BLM” and “No Streamers, No Megaphones, No Masters.” According to the flier, participants are also asked to wear bloc and “be water” for what is touted as an autonomously organized event.

The demonstration was advertised through posts online.

The event comes one day after nearly a dozen businesses were vandalized downtown overnight, according to Portland police, including Portland City Hall, Oregon Historical Society, TriMet and Portland Police Bureau.

Around 7 p.m., a group of approximately 40 people marched out of Director Park and through various streets, doing damage along the way, police said. That included breaking windows, spray painting buildings and the firing of paintballs. A police officer tried to contact one of the people, but their police vehicle was then spray painted, police said.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is still ongoing.

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