Protesters rally in Portland as mayor decries violence

PORTLAND (AP) – Violent clashes this week between protesters and police in Portland, Oregon, have ratcheted up tensions in the city days after an agreement between state and federal officials appeared to bring calm.

More demonstrations were rallying on Thursday night, hours after the city’s mayor decried the unrest that has roiled Portland since George Floyd was killed.

“You are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Thursday in a hastily called news conference alongside Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

Wheeler also warned that the city anticipated more “attacks on public buildings” in the immediate future.

On Thursday night, Portland police declared an unlawful assembly outside a precinct and protesters were ordered to leave. They had said earlier that they believed the intent of the crowd was to vandalise and burn the precinct. Officers worked to clear streets near the precinct of demonstrators, at times running at the crowd to push people away. Smoke canisters were also deployed, local reporters said. Portland police said some demonstrators in the group laid ties made of rebar in the street that caused damage to police vehicles.

“Don’t think for a moment that if you are participating in this activity, you are not being a prop for the re-election campaign of United States (US) President Donald Trump – because you absolutely are,” the mayor had said. “If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up.”

The Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, which advertised the Wednesday rally on social media, used Twitter to announce “Round 2” of the same demonstration on Thursday night with the slogan “No cops. No prisons. Total abolition”.

Police gather during a protest in Portland. PHOTO: AP