• Saturday, Jul 02, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Federal agents fire tear gas again at Portland protesters

  • Published at 08:51 pm July 24th, 2020
Portland protest
Demonstrators take part in a protest in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, on July 23, 2020 AFP

Security forces have frequently tear-gassed and clubbed demonstrators during the unrest

Federal agents fired tear gas canisters at Black Lives Matter demonstrators in downtown Portland early Friday in a 56th straight day of protests, amid growing scrutiny over the use of border patrol officers in the city.

Positioned behind a steel fence, agents began firing tear gas after a small group of protesters, many helmeted and wearing face masks, lit a fire at the entrance of the building shortly after midnight.

Saying they were being hit with projectiles and lasers, federal agents declared an unlawful assembly and forced protesters back up a block from the federal courthouse.

The agents then retreated to a different corner of the courthouse and confronted protesters there, lobbing more canisters that bounced off the walls of buildings into protesters. Journalists were clearly identifiable in the crowd.

Security forces have frequently tear-gassed and clubbed demonstrators during the unrest. The US Justice Department said on Thursday it would investigate the use of force by federal agents in Portland after another night of unrest in which Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed.

The investigations follow public anger over the deployment of federal border patrol officers to Portland against the wishes of local officials. US President Donald Trump's administration has said it is sending a similar contingent to Seattle.

Earlier on Thursday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order barring federal law enforcement from using force against journalists and legal observers at the Portland protests. This followed a lawsuit filed on behalf of journalists whom federal agents had hit with non-lethal "impact munitions."

Re-election battle

Demonstrators and local officials see the deployment of the agents in Portland as a ploy by Trump to drum up a "law and order" campaign as he faces an uphill re-election battle.

Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has said all federal agents have been making lawful arrests and properly identifying themselves as law enforcement.

Mayor Wheeler, a Democrat, has called the intervention an abuse of federal power and said it was escalating the violence.

In Geneva, the UN human rights office said US police and security forces must not use disproportionate force against protesters and journalists, or detain them unlawfully.

"It is very important that people are able to protest peacefully, that people aren't subject to unnecessary, disproportionate or discriminatory use of force," Liz Throssell, UN human rights spokeswoman, said.

Earlier in the evening a crowd of thousands of Black Lives Matter supporters gathered in the city center.

"I'm so inspired to see a sea of people who don't look like me who are saying Black Lives Matter," said Damany Iqwe, referring to the majority-white crowd.

Iqwe, 43, is a Black man who grew up in Portland and has frequently attended protests that have continued since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

"This city is one of the most systematically racist places to live in as a Black man," Iqwe said.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail