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Police: Riot declared outside Justice Center; ‘violent’ acts lasted for hours downtown

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    Portland, OR (KPTV) — Protests have continued in Portland for over a month, and police declared a riot in the city for the second time this week on Thursday night.

According to Portland police, about 200 people gathered near the Justice Center downtown.

Demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice have been ongoing in the city since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis.

Police said the group around the Justice Center blocked streets, chanted and spoke for several hours.

During the speeches, police said some demonstrators shot off commercial grade fireworks.

At one point, some demonstrators broke into the north side doors of the Justice Center on Southwest Main Street, according to police.

Shortly after, the glass doors of the Federal Courthouse building were broken.

At around 11:42 p.m., federal officers who were inside the courthouse came outside to “protect the integrity of their building,” Portland police said.

While the federal officers were outside, police said demonstrators began launching projectiles, including large rocks, full cans and bottle, at the officers with sling shots. Demonstrators also threw lit commercial grade fireworks, which landed inside the broken glass doors of the federal courthouse, according to police, and a fire was lit nearby on Southwest Main Street.

A PPB sound truck instructed the crowd to stop throwing projectiles and fireworks. Police said despite warnings they could be subject to use of force, demonstrators continued committing criminal acts.

The sound truck announced the declaration of a riot at 11:52 p.m. to “protect the life and safety of personnel both inside and outside of the Federal Court House.” Demonstrators were told to leave the area, but many remained.

Officers began dispersing the crowd, and police said the demonstrators “were very hostile and violent towards officers.” According to police, an open pocketknife was thrown at an officer, coming within inches from striking them.

During the dispersal attempt, police said demonstrators continued to throw large rocks and full cans, as well as shot off commercial grade fireworks towards officers. Police reported that several arrests were made. When demonstrators moved to Southwest 6th Avenue and Southwest Main Street, officers disengaged the crowd.

About an hour after the riot was first declared, demonstrators returned to the west side of the courthouse. Police said the crowd was again warned by the sound truck that the riot declaration was still in effect and they needed to leave the area.

Demonstrators then started launching mortars towards the federal courthouse and a fire erupted inside of the building where the glass doors had been broken, according to police.

Once again, officers tried to disperse the crowd and demonstrators continued to throw rocks, cans, and commercial grade fireworks and mortars towards officers. Police said, “because of the violent nature of the demonstrators while officers cleared the area, crowd control munitions were used and several arrests were made.”

At Southwest Main Street and Southwest Broadway Avenue, commercial grade fireworks were once again thrown at officers.

As the situation dissolved, several demonstrators went to the Lownsdale and Chapman Park, police said, and eventually dispersed over the next several hours.

Police said officers did not use tear gas in the overnight response.

A riot was also declared by police Tuesday night in north Portland. In total, 29 people were arrested in connection with that riot.

Police did not initially release information about the arrests made during Thursday’s riot.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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