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Riot Declared in Portland              08/09 10:28

   

   PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A fire inside a police union building led authorities 
in Portland, Oregon, to declare a riot and force protesters away from the 
offices as violent demonstrations continue in the city that had hoped for calm 
after federal agents withdrew more than a week ago.

   Three officers were hurt, including two who were taken to a hospital, during 
efforts to clear a crowd of several hundred people outside the Portland Police 
Association building late Saturday, police said in a statement. The two 
hospitalized officers have since been released.

   Rallies had been held earlier in the afternoon and evening throughout the 
city, including at Peninsula, Laurelhurst and Berrydale parks, local media 
reported.

   Police said a group from Peninsula Park marched to the Portland Police 
Association building, which is located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of 
the federal courthouse that had been the target of nightly violence earlier 
this summer. The Portland Police Association is a labor union that represents 
members of the Portland Police Bureau.

   A group of demonstrators broke into the building, set the fire and were 
adding to it when officers made the riot declaration just after 11:30 p.m., 
police said. Video shot by a journalist, and surveillance video from inside the 
building obtained by the police department, shows smoke and flames arising from 
inside the building.

   Officers formed a line and used flash bangs and smoke canisters to force the 
protest several blocks away. Demonstrators congregated at Kenton Park, where 
they were again ordered to disperse. Most of the crowd had left by 2 a.m., 
police stated.

   The gatherings this week had been noticeably smaller than the crowds of 
thousands who turned out nightly for about two weeks in July to protest the 
presence of U.S. agents sent by the Trump administration to protect the federal 
courthouse downtown.

   This week's clashes have, however, amped up tensions after an agreement 
between state and federal officials seemed to offer a brief reprieve.

   Police arrested 24 people during demonstrations overnight Friday after they 
said people defied orders to disperse and threw rocks, frozen or hard-boiled 
eggs and commercial-grade fireworks at officers. An unlawful assembly was 
declared outside the Penumbra Kelly public safety building.

   Most of those arrested were from Portland, while one man was from Oakland, 
California, and another was from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most were in their 20s or 
30s. The charges included assault on an officer, interfering with an officer, 
disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

   An Oregon State Police trooper was struck in the head by a large rock and 
suffered a head injury, police said. The trooper's condition was not 
immediately known.

   Some demonstrators filled pool noodles with nails and placed them in the 
road, causing extensive damage to a patrol vehicle, police said. Oregon State 
Police worked with Portland officers to clear the protesters.

   Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, protests over racial injustice 
and police brutality have occurred nightly for more than 70 days.

   Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said violent protesters are also serving as 
political "props" for President Donald Trump in a divisive election season 
where the president is hammering on a law-and-order message. Trump has called 
the protesters as "sick and dangerous anarchists" running wild in the city's 
streets.

   Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since 
the U.S. agents pulled back their presence in the city. But officers did not 
use it Thursday or Friday despite declaring the demonstrations unlawful 
assemblies. Police said tear gas wasn't used Saturday.

 
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