PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters were back on the streets of Portland, Oregon, Saturday night as violent demonstrations have continued in the city that had hoped for calm after federal agents withdrew more than a week ago and local police try to quell the unrest.
Rallies were held in the afternoon and evening throughout the city, including Peninsula, Laurelhurst and Berrydale parks, local media reported. a
The gatherings this week had been noticeably smaller than the crowds of thousands who turned out nightly for about two weeks in July to protest the presence of U.S. agents sent by the Trump administration to protect a federal courthouse that had become a target of nightly violence.
This week’s clashes have, however, amped up tensions after an agreement between state and federal officials seemed to offer a brief reprieve.
Police arrested 24 people during overnight Friday demonstrations after they said people defied orders to disperse and threw rocks, frozen or hard-boiled eggs and commercial-grade fireworks at officers.
An Oregon State Police Trooper was struck in the head by a large rock and suffered a head injury, police said. The trooper’s condition was not immediately known.
Some demonstrators filled pool noodles with nails and placed them in the road, causing extensive damage to a patrol vehicle, police said. Oregon State Police worked with Portland officers to clear the protesters.
Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, protests over racial injustice and police brutality have occurred nightly for more than 70 days.
Portland police declared an unlawful assembly Friday night at the Penumbra Kelly public safety building, ordering everyone in the area to leave. Authorities had previously warned people not to trespass on the property.
Protesters remained for several hours before officers began to rush the crowd away from the building using crowd-control munitions early Saturday. “As arrests were made, certain crowd members began throwing rocks towards officers,” police said in a statement.
Most of those arrested were from Portland, while one man was from Oakland, California, and another was Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most were in their 20s or 30s.
The charges included assault on an officer, interfering with an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said violent protesters are also serving as political “props” for President Donald Trump in a divisive election season where the president is hammering on a law-and-order message. Trump has called the protesters as “sick and dangerous anarchists” running wild in the city’s streets.
Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since the U.S. agents pulled back their presence in the city. But officers did not use it Thursday despite declaring the demonstration an unlawful assembly.