PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Saturday marks the 23rd consecutive day of protests against police brutality and racism across Portland.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Justice Center Saturday night to resume protests. Various messages, from the names of those who have been killed by police to phrases such as “Organizers don’t work with cops. Ever.” were projected onto the exterior of the Justice Center.
Demonstrations remained peaceful until around 11 p.m. when reports came of protesters throwing objects at the Justice Center for nearly an hour.
At 1:46 a.m., police gave warnings that the event had turned into an unlawful assembly. Deputies from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Portland Police Bureau said demonstrators continued to throw objects including a commercial grade firework. The baton-wielding police officers subsequently used flash-bang grenades to disperse demonstrators.
On Sunday, Portland police said officers arrested five people from the previous night’s demonstrations. All of those people were charged with interfering with a police officer. Some faced additional charges disorderly conduct.
‘Bloc Party’ in SE Portland draws hundreds
On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered under the I-5 overpass near the Eastbank Esplanade for a “Bloc Party” organized by Snack Bloc Portland. The band Sávila performed, and various community speakers address the crowd from a stage.
“I knew it was going to be big, but I didn’t think it was going to be this big and I’m really touched by it,” said Masyn Wade, President of Snack Bloc, an organization that offers resources and support for rallies, protests, and community events.
“We teach them why they’re protesting, we teach them how to change legislation, we talk about local elections.”
The Bloc Party drew in activists, as well as artists and community leaders who have been marching at demonstrations across the metro area for weeks. But on Saturday, instead of marching, they danced.
Drag Queen Poison Waters helped host the event and delivered a commencement speech at the end to honor the BIPOC graduates of 2020.
“We are saying that Black Lives Matter and we have every member of our community our here to say that with us,” said Waters, who described the atmosphere as “100% positive and fun.”
Her message to 2020 graduates: “Stay loud, stay proud, and keep just being yourself and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it because you can do whatever you like.”
Recap: Juneteenth demonstrations throughout Portland
On Friday, marches and celebrations took place across the metro area in honor of Juneteenth—the day that those who were enslaved were fully emancipated in America. People marched Vancouver and occupied the Interstate-5 bridge. A youth-led march took place in downtown Portland and was concluded by a prayer led by the interfaith clergy. A Black Liberation Bike Ride was also organized on the city’s Northeast side.
In place of the nightly march led by Rose City Justice from Revolution Hall was a party. A DJ played late into the night and a community that has been marching for weeks spent the evening celebrating Juneteenth.
Protests outside the Justice Center continued Friday night. Shortly after 11 p.m. Portland police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly after stating that people had thrown projectiles at officers. The crowd was moved west by officers who had close the area surrounding the Justice Center.
On Saturday, police said that six adults were arrested from the demonstrations the day before. Most of those arrests involved charges for interfering with a police officer. Two people were charged with multiple counts of reckless endangering.
This story will be updated throughout the day.