Portland police block North Portland march as protests continue Friday - oregonlive.com


Published by OREGONLIVE.COM

Summary generated on August 15, 2020


    After one of the quietest nights in months at Portland's regular protesting locations Thursday, demonstrators converged again in North Portland Friday.

    They pledged "Direct action" against police violence.

    Police responded to the calls by blocking the marchers before they reached their planned destination.

    In recent weeks, such calls resulted in demonstrations at law enforcement buildings on Portland's east side, where crowds of a couple hundred people used fireworks, small fires and tossed eggs to draw police actions.

    Police regularly labeled the gatherings as unlawful and broke up the crowds, sometimes with tear gas.

    On Friday, the calls to gather at Peninsula Park had drawn more than 200 people by 9 p.m. Tables offered pizza and snacks, and at another table, people distributed helmets, shin guards and other gear, such as homemade shields.

    The crowd grew to 300 people by 9:15 p.m., when people started to march west on Ainsworth Street.

    The group was met on Interstate Avenue by more than 20 police officers and several police vehicles blocking their path.

    Police used a loudspeaker to tell people the street was open to traffic and order people to leave.

    Police warned that if people did not leave, they could be shot with less-lethal munitions or gassed.

    Protesters at the front of the march held wooden shields.

    Most people chanted to the beat of snare drums and other percussion instruments.

    Someone played a recording, "Portland police your violence and terror aren't wanted in our city."

    Protesters have gathered nightly across the city since May 28 after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Locally, protesters are pushing for a range of police reforms and cuts to law enforcement budgets.

    Chant and give speeches, while a separate group urges "Direct action" to provoke police as a way of forcing change.

    The size of the protests has diminished significantly since Gov. Kate Brown negotiated a deal with Vice President Mike Pence to remove federal officers, who had regularly used clouds of tear gas to disperse the crowds.

    They were replaced by Oregon State Police, who helped protect federal buildings from vandalism over the past few weeks.

    Since Oregon State Police announced Thursday they were pulling back, questions remain about whether federal officers will return to the nightly protests.

    No answers arrived Thursday, because only a few dozen people gathered outside the federal courthouse.

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