Fiery protests raged on in Portland as rioters and federal law enforcement clashed in fierce confrontations outside the federal courthouse in Oregon’s most populated city.
The Portland Police Department declared a riot early Sunday after vandals tore down the fence outside of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. “The violent conduct of people downtown is creating grave risk of public alarm,” the Portland Police Department stated.
Elijah Schaffer of BlazeTV, the host of the “Slightly Offens*ve” podcast, was covering this weekend’s mayhem in Portland. Schaffer shared videos on his Twitter of vandals using electric saws to cut into the fence. The rioters were able to weaken the fencing enough to enable them to rip it down with ropes and chains.
(CAUTION: Graphic video and language)
Once the rioters breached the courthouse, federal officers responded by launching tear gas canisters and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Protesters used leaf blowers to keep the tear gas away from them.
“People climbed over the fence to get close to the federal courthouse,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement. “People continued to launch mortar style fireworks at ground level that were exploding near others.”
In one brief moment of peace, a Portland police officer helps a protester up from the ground.
Saturday was the 59th day of protests since the death of George Floyd.
There was also intense rioting on Friday night and into Saturday morning in Portland, where law enforcement declared the protests an “unlawful assembly.” Videos show rioters throwing frozen water bottles and launching fireworks at federal officers.
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell released a video statement regarding the riots.
“Across the country people are committing violence, supposedly in support of Portland,” Lovell said. “If you want to support Portland then stop the violence, work for peace. Portland police officers and police facilities have been threatened. Now more than ever Portland Police needs your support.”
“We want to get back to the critical issues that have been hijacked by people committing crimes under the cover of crowds,” Lovell continued. “We hear the black community. We hear the business community. We hear each of you in your communities. We are listening and share the desire to make meaningful change.”
“Now more than ever the Portland Police needs your support,” he said. “To the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau, your courage is inspiring. Your commitment to this city and to each other is beyond compare. Every day you come to work and give all you have. I can never thank you enough for the sacrifices you and your families have made.
“To those in the community who are fed up and frustrated with the nightly destruction and violence, there are ways to come together with your communities to make your voices heard, especially to those in positions of authority. We have received an outpouring of support from many community members who have felt compelled to reach out with words and messages of kindness.”
On Thursday, the City of Portland demanded federal authorities remove the metal fence and concrete barriers that protect the federal courthouse. The Portland Bureau of Transportation said the fencing is illegal because it blocks a bike lane, which makes the fence a safety hazard.
“The structures are both unpermitted and represent a hazard to the traveling public,” Chris Warner, director of PBOT, wrote in a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration.