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Protesters gather downtown after Gov. Brown announces plan for most federal officers to leave Portland

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    PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — Protesters gathered in downtown Portland Wednesday evening, hours after Gov. Kate Brown announced a plan for some federal officers to start leaving the city.

A group of demonstrators were in front of the Justice Center, listening to speakers, chanting, and singing.

An image saying “Fed cops out of PDX” was also projected onto the front of the federal courthouse.

Just before 11 p.m., federal officers suddenly deployed tear gas, surprising the crowd near the federal courthouse.

About half an hour later, more tear gas was deployed around the courthouse.

The Federal Protective Service declared an unlawful assembly and told all peaceful protesters to leave.

FOX 12 asked protesters their thoughts on federal officers starting to leave. They said they’ll believe it when they see it, but that if the feds leave, they think nightly destruction will stop and protests can get back to their original message.

In an announcement Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said beginning Thursday, all Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will leave downtown Portland and shortly thereafter go home.

“Let me be clear. We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship. We cannot have federal troops roaming city streets across the country or abducting people into unmarked vans,” Brown said in a video message Wednesday.

The governor says state police will step in to de-escalate tensions around the federal courthouse instead.

The acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the agreement but he and the commissioner of CBP said Wednesday they need to see this plan work and that federal officers would remain in Portland until the courthouse is secure.

Wednesday night, a group of healthcare workers from Oregon Health & Science University and other hospitals joined the movement at the courthouse.

“We believe there’s unjust police practice and violence against the black community. I think there’s risk of losing focus and losing sight of that and we want to speak out,” said Angelo Lipira, a surgeon at OHSU.

They and other protesters say they hope federal officers begin to leave and that the message will get back on track.

“By them being here, it’s like the people are reacting to all the pressure that they’re putting on us, the gas and the abuse. If they leave, they back off, I feel it will get back to normal,” a protester said. “A lot of this destruction will stop, but I think the protests will continue until people feel that they can see justice.”

The governor also said Wednesday she believes federal forces leaving is an opportunity to reset and for the community to come together. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler praised her for reaching this agreement.

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