Portland police declare riot as protests turn violent again

An anti-police brutality demonstration involving several hundred people in Portland, Oregon, descended into violence, prompting police to declare a riot in the city for the second time in three days.

The protest late Thursday began with a “couple hundred” people outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, where some demonstrators shot off fireworks as the crowd blocked nearby streets, Portland police said in a statement Friday.

The demonstration then turned violent just before midnight after federal officers moved outside the courthouse to protect the building and were met by protesters who used slingshots to launch projectiles at them, including large rocks and bottles, police said.

Protesters also threw lit fireworks into the broken glass doors of an adjacent federal courthouse, police said.

Officers at the scene warned protesters minutes later that they’d be subjected to use of force, including “crowd control munitions,” if they did not leave the area, department officials said.

As cops broke up the crowd, some demonstrators were “very hostile and violent” toward officers, including someone who threw an open pocketknife at them, police said.

Protesters then started launching mortars towards the federal courthouse, causing a fire to break out inside the building. Several people were taken into custody, but police had not provided an official tally as of midday Friday, The Oregonian reports.

A message seeking comment from Portland police was not immediately returned.

Video of the incident shows police in riot gear as they emerged from the graffiti-covered Multnomah County Justice Center. It’s unclear what type of projectiles were fired by the officers, but Portland police said no CS gas was used by its officers while responding to the riot.

That wasn’t the case Tuesday, when Portland police used canisters of 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, more commonly known as CS gas, to disperse protesters outside the Portland Police Union headquarters.

Police declared a riot late Tuesday after protesters launched fireworks and threw baseball-sized rocks at cops. In all, 29 people were arrested and six police officers were assaulted, police said Wednesday.

Portland police are temporarily barred by a federal court order from using tear gas unless they believe a life is in danger, The Oregonian reports.

Thursday’s demonstration marked the 36th day of protests in Portland in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police-custody death on May 25 in Minneapolis, according to the newspaper.

Video posted to Twitter early Friday showed the courthouse covered in graffiti — including some messages that referenced Floyd. Glass from broken bottles and spent fireworks that were used as weapons against police littered the ground, video shows.

A flier posted outside the federal courthouse, meanwhile, offered a four-step plan for “revolution” in the United States, according to an editor-at-large for The Post Millennial.

“Vote Green Party in the November election to prevent a corporate shill candidate from being elected,” the flier read. “Keep the country mostly shut down by way of strikes, boycotts and peaceful demonstrations.”

*story by New York Post