Over the weekend, protesters pulled down barricades, moved them into streets, and attempted to light a building on fire. Sunday’s demonstrations ended with protesters being dispersed with gas by federal law enforcement, the Portland Police said in a tweet.
While the protests are now getting national attention, allegations of racism and calls for reform have long been a part of the city.
But what began as a call for justice and accountability has given way to a melting pot of demonstrations.
Now weeks have gone by with officers and protesters clashing, resulting in injuries on both sides, vandalism, arson, and allegations of brutality.
In the last week alone, at least 40 protesters were arrested on charges varying from resisting arrest to disorderly conduct, according press releases from the PPB.
A history of racism
Portland has long been a place where tensions between opposing demonstrators have been a source for conflict.
In recent years, some protests have become a target for hate groups seeking to antagonize other people who come out to defend the rights of marginalized communities such as immigrants, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.
In the early 1900’s, the city’s Board of Realty passed a “code of ethics,” which prohibited realtors from selling homes in White neighborhoods to Black people.
While he said that right now Portland is known as a “hotbed for violence,” it is also “a city of opportunity.”
“(It’s) a city of love. A city of growth. A city that cares about its police. A city that cares about its Black and indigenous community members, gay, lesbian, transgender, cares about everyone. Portland is a city of love and hope.”
Many other community members who spoke echoed his sentiments and decried the violence that has come with the calls for justice.
“You want to know what tired looks like, ask us what tired looks like. Because we are the ones who couldn’t purchase a house or rent a place anywhere near a certain place because nobody wanted people like us to be in it. We couldn’t go to this school or that school or we couldn’t do a number of different,” the pastor said.
“It’s very important that we come together, and I’m not as concerned about what we are tired of, I’m very concerned about the world that we can make together.”
Fight over federal agents arresting protesters
“These criminal actions will not be tolerated,” the statement said.
They have not been well received, with the mayor, governor and several other state and local officials calling for the federal involvement to end, saying it’s only throwing gas on the flames.
There are “dozens if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city, and what they’re doing is they are sharply escalating the situation,” the mayor added. “Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism.”
After people were seen being taken by federal officers without badges and put into unmarked vans, US Attorney Billy J. Williams of the District of Oregon has requested a federal investigation, and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit in federal court against DHS Friday.