Portland erupted in a new round of violence Saturday night as rioters engaged in a street battle with police, throwing firebombs and firing fireworks at officers who responded with tear gas.
Officers say they arrested more than 50 people — the most for any night since near-nightly protests broke out 100 days ago, after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked demands for racial justice and anti-police demonstrations.
Demonstrators pelted police with rocks taken from the tracks of a commuter railway, and officers said they saw one person with a “wrist rocket” slingshot firing objects at them.
As protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails and fired commercial-grade fireworks at police, one landed on a protester whose pants caught fire. The person had to be taken to the hospital.
The protesters’ target was a police station, but given past mayhem, officers blocked their route, sparking the street battle.
Police say the demonstrators began the melee by throwing molotov cocktails at them, then escalated from there.
Officers had to be called in from other police stations, leaving other service calls unanswered.
“At about 2:00a.m., there were almost 150 calls for service holding in the City of Portland,” police said.
During 100 days of protests, Portland police have declared riots on 26 days.
Fires have been set on more than half of the days.