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Thousands of protesters clash with federal police at Portland courthouse

2020-07-25

An estimated crowd of 2,000 people protested outside the U.S. courthouse in Portland, Ore., Monday night, leading to federal officers once again using force to clear the area.

Shortly after midnight, federal officers began firing gas canisters and other projectiles into the crowd from behind a wooden structure that had been erected outside of the court house after protesters began removing the plywood.

The night’s demonstrations began peacefully.

The protesters were again joined by the Wall of Moms group, many dressed in yellow shirts, bike helmets and masks, as well as a group called PDXDadPod, who arrived around 9 p.m.

As the crowd grew, people delivered speeches on different topics, including registering to vote. According to Oregon Live, someone in the crowd passed out hundreds of pig squeak toys.

However, after midnight, federal officers emerged from the building to push the crowds back, using smoke devices and impact munitions. After returning to the building, a group of several hundred also began to walk back to the courthouse. The officers used peepholes cut into the wall to keep firing projectiles before coming out of the building again around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The situation appears to show no signs of stopping as neither protesters nor President Trump appear ready to back down.

President Trump said Monday the federal officers were doing a “fantastic job.” Both Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have said they plan to expand the federal law enforcement presence in several other cities.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has added there are no plans to remove the additional federal officers from Portland.

“Their presence is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism and it’s not helping the situation at all,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told CNN. “They’re not wanted here.”

“We’re not leaving,” one protester told CNN. “I think it says more about them than us when the feds respond to our demands for justice with tear gas and smoke bombs.”