Hours after a mostly peaceful protest began Saturday in Portland, in the Northwestern U.S. state of Oregon, police declared the demonstration a riot.
Police in tactical gear used tear gas and flash bangs to break up the crowd. Oregonlive.com said, “Most of the officers appeared to be Portland police, although some wore grey jumpsuits. It was unclear what agency they represent.”
The officers could be seen, in videos posted on Twitter, clashing with the demonstrators, ordering them out of the streets and onto the sidewalks around midnight.
KGW-TV posted on its website that “journalists at the scene also caught” police “puncturing the tires of vehicles supporting” the protesters.
The rally began in Laurelhurst Park in southeast Portland. The protesters headed toward the Penumbra Kelly building, a building that houses local law enforcement offices. Reports say the demonstration was declared a riot after some protesters moved onto Penumbra Kelly building property after warnings from police not to do so.
Portland has seen 80 straight days of demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, following the death of Geroge Floyd in Minneapolis, earlier this year.
Floyd, who was Black, died after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd cried out that he could not breathe.
Earlier Saturday in Portland, a right-wing group held a rally in support of the police. Counter demonstrators showed up and there were brief skirmishes between the two groups.
There were reports that gunshots were fired from a car leaving a garage but there were no reports of injuries.