PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Demonstrators returned to downtown Portland Sunday evening after a night of clashes and confrontations with law enforcement on both sides of the river. Federal officers again used tear gas on protesters outside the federal courthouse; however, demonstrators regrouped outside of the building in the early hours of Monday morning.
It’s unclear if any protesters have been arrested or detained during Sunday night’s demonstration.
KOIN 6 News saw protesters, including a group of mothers wearing yellow and holding flowers, peacefully surround a fence to the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse after night fell; a few federal officers were spotted exiting the building, but staying behind the fence before going back inside. By 11:40, parts of the fence were disassembled, and some protesters sat behind it.
Around 11:50 p.m., federal officers rushed out of the building and used a heavy amount of tear gas, in addition to other crowd-control munitions, against protesters — many of whom had their hands up, KOIN 6 News witnessed.
According to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau, a small fire was lit within the portico in front of the federal courthouse just after 1:30 a.m, as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the area. Shortly beforehand, one protester reportedly climbed atop the Justice Center to tamper with a security camera.
Around 1:40 a.m., federal officers once again came out of the courthouse to extinguish the fire and disperse the crowd. Videos circulating on social media show clouds of tear gas again being deployed, wafting through the streets as protesters cry out.
The PPB stated that officers did not engage with the crowd at all overnight. Tear gas was used at least twice — but none was used by the police department, their statement said.
Sunday marked 52 nights of protests against police and racism. Protesters returned to the Justice Center and the federal courthouse. A march was also planned around 7 p.m. from Cathedral Park to the St. John’s PPB Office on North Philadelphia Avenue.
A riot was declared Saturday night at the Portland Police Association Headquarters on North Lombard Street after police said demonstrators broke into the building and lit a fire. Meanwhile, federal officers deployed teargas outside the federal courthouse downtown.
Portland Police arrested four people Saturday night/Sunday morning on charges including riot, resisting arrest, and assault on a public safety officer.
Timeline of Events
A small fire was lit outside the federal courthouse. Federal officers came outside around 1:40 a.m. to extinguish the fire and once again dispersed the crowd.
Shortly before midnight, federal officers deployed teargas outside the courthouse.
Protesters dispersed quickly, but regrouped farther away. Chants of “feds go home” could still be heard in the distance in the area of SW 3rd Street.
Federal officers continued to deploy cans of tear gas intermittently in the area.
Later in the hour, protesters returned to the federal courthouse. The police presence appeared to have fallen back.
A group of balloons was spotted outside.
The crowd of protesters outside the federal courthouse has continued to grow. Protesters were unified in chants, and listened as individuals spoke through a bullhorn.
Minutes after 11 p.m. the Portland Police Bureau made their first public announcement of the night but it was quickly drowned out by boos and noisemakers from demonstrators.
Federal agents appeared for a few minutes around 11:30 and shot pepper balls at the crowd, according to Portland Tribune photographer Johnathan House.
Around 11:45 p.m., the fence around the federal courthouse begins to come down. Some protesters break of panels and are met with cheers from the rest of the crowd.
Mothers dressed in yellow created a human chain and, with arms linked, stood at the fence that lines the federal courthouse.
The crowd of hundreds of protesters continued to chant and bang on the fence. At one point, fireworks were also set off in the area.
Hundreds of people occupied the streets around the federal courthouse and Justice Center in downtown Portland.
Earlier in the hour, the Mom Bloc was greeted with cheers as they arrived at the protest, identifiable by their yellow shirts and flowers in-hand.
The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner