- Associated Press - Saturday, July 25, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal agents again repeatedly fired tear gas to break up rowdy protests in Portland, Oregon, that continued into the early morning Saturday as demonstrations that have happened every night for two months showed no signs of letting up.

Thousands gathered in front of the downtown federal courthouse beginning Friday evening. Demonstrations have happened in Oregon’s largest city nightly since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in May. President Donald Trump said he sent federal agents to Portland to halt the unrest but state and local officials say they are making the situation worse.

The latest demonstration went until federal agents entered the crowd around 2:30 a.m. Saturday and marched in a line down the street, clearing remaining protesters with volleys of tear gas at close range. They also extinguished a large fire in the street outside the courthouse.

Late Friday, a federal judge denied a request by Oregon’s attorney general to restrict the actions of federal police.

The Federal Protective Service had declared the gathering in Portland that began Friday evening as “an unlawful assembly” and said that officers had been injured.

As the crowd dispersed, someone was found stabbed nearby, Portland police said. The person was taken to a hospital and a suspect was taken into custody.

By 3 a.m., most demonstrators had left, with only small groups roaming the streets.

Earlier Friday night, the protest had drawn various organized groups, including veterans, Healthcare Workers Protest, Teachers against Tyrants, Lawyers for Black Lives and the “Wall of Moms.”

As the crowd grew - authorities estimate there were 3,000 present at the peak of the protest - people were heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Feds go home” to the sound of drums.

Later, protesters vigorously shook the fence surrounding the courthouse, shot fireworks towards the building and threw glass bottles. Many times these actions were met by federal agents using tear gas and flash bangs.

Daniel Pereyo was one protester who was tear-gassed. Pereyo said he had been at the nearby park watching drummers and fireworks being shot, when his face and eyes began to burn.

“It’s extremely painful,” he said. “It’s not the worst pain ever, but it is discomforting and it’s distracting.”

The federal agents have arrested dozens during nightly demonstrations against racial injustice that often turn violent.

The state attorney general sued, saying some people had been whisked off the streets in unmarked vehicles. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled Friday the state lacked standing to sue on behalf of protesters because the lawsuit was a “highly unusual one with a particular set of rules.”

Oregon was seeking a restraining order on behalf of its residents not for injuries that had already happened but to prevent injuries by federal officers in the future. That combination makes the standard for granting such a motion very narrow, and the state did not prove it had standing in the case, Mosman wrote.


Sara Cline reported from Salem. Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.


Associated Press writer Sally Ho contributed from Seattle.


Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus.

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