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Two Portland Protests: Demonstrators March Peacefully at One, Other Declared a Riot

Protesters confront with the police near an Immigration and Customs Enforcement centre in Portland, Oregon, Aug. 20, 2020, in this still image from a video obtained from social media.

Portland protesters clashed with federal officers late Thursday and early Friday outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, on the city’s 85th consecutive night of protests, while an earlier protest remained peaceful.

Demonstrators gathered Thursday night at Kenton Park, and at 7 p.m., began marching through city streets toward the boarded-up Portland Police Association headquarters, a common protest destination.

“The goal right now is to disrupt the peace,” said Erandi Jones-Vega, 17, reported The Oregonian/Oregon Live. Jones-Vega spoke from the bed of a pickup truck leading the march. “If you’re here right now, you need to be loud. You need to be exhausted. Because we’re exhausted.”

Another woman in the back of the truck read names from a list of Black people fatally shot by Portland police, according The Oregonian/Oregon Live, as the crowd replied, “Rest in power.”

Protesters walked through the city for several hours before ending the march at the park. Most people left by 10 p.m., the protest over without any interactions with police.

Also at 10 p.m., another group of about 100 people began gathering at an ICE building, which the night before had been declared the site of a riot. Just after 11 p.m., some began painting over a security camera at the entrance, spray-painting building windows and the building itself. By midnight, the officers had declared the situation an unlawful assembly, and police began using force to disperse the crowd.

Portland police reported that people threw rocks, bottles and fireworks. In its statement, city police said crowd control munitions or tear gas were not used but did not say if federal officers had used them. Local media and social media reports showed spent tear gas canisters and footage of officers firing munitions. Three people were arrested.

Portland police issued a timeline of protests Thursday, which showed they had declared riots 17 times between May 29 and August 19.

Earlier that day, a U.S. judge granted a preliminary injunction that exempts journalists and legal observers from federal officers’ orders to disperse after officers officially declare a protest a riot. Officers were prohibited from seizing press passes, cameras or other recording equipment.

Portland residents have held nightly protests since late May, when an interaction with Minneapolis police left George Floyd dead. His name became a rallying cry for people protesting racism and police brutality, sparking demonstrations across the U.S. and world.