Violence erupted in Portland on Thursday night as rioters targeted the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. Federal officers were dispatched to quell the unrest that included fires and windows smashed.
There had been regular protests and riots in downtown Portland since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Despite frequent and reoccurring unrest in the area of the federal courthouse, the protective fence surrounding the federal courthouse was taken down Thursday for the first time since last summer, KGW reported.
Black-clad protesters swarmed the Oregon courthouse Thursday night. A group of around 50 gathered at the federal courthouse building, according to KOIN reporter Jennifer Dowling. Fires were set near the courthouse, and rioters ripped down plywood in order to break the windows on the federal building. One rioter used a scooter to smash a window.
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Federal officers deployed tear gas canisters and flash-bang grenades to disperse the violent mob. Journalist Suzette Smith said Department of Homeland Security officers were guarding the federal courthouse.
Photojournalist Garrison Davis shared images on Twitter of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse spray-painted with graffiti, some read “Black Lives Matter,” “New President Same Imperialism,” “Fascists Live Here,” and the anti-police acronym “ACAB” that means “All cops are bastards.”
Earlier Thursday, there was a confrontation at the entrance to the federal courthouse, according to journalist Andy Ngo.
KING-TV reported, “Police said a group of people invaded the lobby of an office building” in downtown Portland on Thursday.
“Officers arrived and found about 30 people refusing to leave, some smoking inside, some with pets,” police said in a news release. “The situation escalated when people began damaging property, including a television and the front doors to the building.”
A Wells Fargo bank in Oregon’s biggest city was also attacked Thursday.
The Portland police acknowledged that they are aware of protests planned for Friday and the weekend.
“We are aware of events planned tomorrow and this weekend in which people plan to gather and demonstrate. Demonstration Liaison Officers (DLOs) are available to work with community members organizing these events,” the Portland police tweeted on Thursday. “DLOs work with event organizers to better ensure a safe environment for event participants and non-participating community members.”
Ngo shared an alleged poster for the “Direct Action March,” that calls for “No Justice No Peace.” The poster also reads, “No Borders! No Nations! Abolish Deportation!” There is reportedly a warning from the protesters to the public “not engage with the demonstrators in any way, including yelling at them or filming them in plain view, as it may result in retaliatory action by the demonstrators.”