A large crowd of people gathered Thursday in Portland, Oregon for another night of protests, which have been ongoing in the city for over a month and a half.
A night that began with largely peaceful crowds singing eventually devolved into tear gas, smoke canisters and fires on Federal courthouse property.
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Video showed the large crowd on the streets singing “hands up, please don’t shoot me” with their phone flashlights in the air. More people continued to arrive as the night went on.
A man told the crowd that they will “disturb the peace every night.”
We’re gonna disturb the peace every night,” he said as the crowd cheered. “We got a right to disturb the peace, the violated our Constitutional right, so we got a right now to disturb the peace. And we will – until they give us justice, we will disturb the peace!”
A group of moms, designated by their yellow t-shirts, formed a barrier around the crowd.
A black Trump supporter arrived to defend the fence around Portland’s federal courthouse, which was set on fire Wednesday night. His presence sparked a debate among the protesters.
“It doesn’t matter what he believes or not, you have to let him protest the way they want,” one person said.
“He’s here for us, but everybody protests in a different way and we have to be, like, considerate of that,” another person adds. “I personally don’t care if people throw shit, but he does. And so, he’s not gonna do that, but we just have to be considerate of everybody.” A few people in the crowd started booing.
Protesters began throwing trash bags and bottles over the fence at the courthouse while chanting “pigs go home!”
A warning was then given by officers over the loudspeaker. However, the crowd continued to escalate and bang on the fence outside the courthouse while chanting “pigs go home!” Officers remained inside the building but continued to issue warnings.
A man walked around to try and de-escalate the crowd. “Please, just give me a chance,” he asked. “Just don’t hit the fence, please … I’ve been out here all day doing this, alright, they said it on the news they will not shoot us, they will not gas us if we do not try to breach.”
“If we try to breach, they’re gonna do whatever they can to keep the people away from the building. I don’t want them to be hurt, I don’t want you to be hurt,” he added. “Please work with me.”
Protesters then started to throw fireworks across the fence. They began to argue amongst themselves as a fire began on the other side of the fence.
As tensions escalated, protesters launched more fireworks and started another fire behind the courthouse. Police responded with flashbangs and what appeared to be a smoke canister, and people in the crowd who had leaf blowers moved to blow the smoke away.
The officers briefly exited the building but then retreated back. Officers declared an unlawful assembly and demanded that the crowd leave, but the crowd didn’t seem to be phased. As the night continued to escalate, tear gas was used.
Federal law enforcement continued to try and clear the streets around the courthouse.
Police in Portland officially declared a riot this week following over a month and a half of unrest. Rioters set a federal courthouse on fire and harassed Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler when he arrived to talk with protesters Wednesday night. Wheeler was hit with tear gas while he was at the protest.
Protests have been ongoing nationwide since the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes, video showed. Although protests often began peacefully, many devolved into violent riots.
This is a developing story.