Fed­eral agents fire tear gas to clear Portland pro­test­ers

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NATION - By Gil­lian Flaccus and Sara Cline Gil­lian Flaccus and Sara Cline are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Thou­sands of pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the fed­eral court­house in Portland into the early hours Satur­day, shoot­ing fire­works at the build­ing as plumes of tear gas dis­pensed by U.S. agents lin­gered above.

The demon­stra­tion car­ried on un­til fed­eral of­fi­cers en­tered the crowd around 2:30 a.m. and marched in a line down the street, clear­ing re­main­ing pro­test­ers with tear gas at close range. They also ex­tin­guished a large fire in the street out­side the court­house.

Portland has been roiled by nightly protests for two months fol­low­ing the killing of Ge­orge Floyd in Min­neapo­lis. Pres­i­dent Trump said he sent fed­eral agents to Ore­gon’s largest city to halt the unrest but state and lo­cal of­fi­cials say they are mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion worse.

The clashes in Portland have fur­ther in­flamed the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal ten­sions and trig­gered a cri­sis over the lim­its of fed­eral power as Trump moves to send U.S. of­fi­cers to other Demo­cratic­led cities he says are vi­o­lent.

Late Fri­day a fed­eral judge de­nied a re­quest by Ore­gon’s at­tor­ney gen­eral to re­strict the ac­tions of fed­eral po­lice.

The Fed­eral Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice had de­clared the gath­er­ing in Portland that be­gan Fri­day evening as “an un­law­ful as­sem­bly” and said of­fi­cers were in­jured.

As the crowd dis­persed, some­one was found stabbed nearby, Portland po­lice said. The per­son was taken to a hos­pi­tal and a sus­pect was taken into cus­tody.

Ear­lier Fri­day night, the protest had drawn var­i­ous or­ga­nized groups, in­clud­ing Health­care Work­ers Protest, Teach­ers against Tyrants, Lawyers for Black Lives and the “Wall of Moms.” As the crowd grew — author­i­ties es­ti­mate there were 3,000 present at the peak of the protest — peo­ple were heard chant­ing “Black Lives Mat­ter” and “Feds go home” to the sound of drums.

Later, pro­test­ers shook a fence sur­round­ing the court­house, shot fire­works to­wards the build­ing and threw bot­tles. Fed­eral agents re­sponded with tear gas and flash bangs.

Home­land Se­cu­rity act­ing Sec­re­tary Chad Wolf de­nied that fed­eral agents were in­flam­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Portland. Trump has de­scribed the demon­stra­tors as “an­ar­chists and ag­i­ta­tors.“

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