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Portland Police Share Pics of Seized Extremist Pamphlet, Weapons as Another Riot Declared in City

Since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May last year, Portland has been the scene of frequent demonstrations, most of which have resulted in violent clashes between police officers and demonstrators, and riots have been declared by the authorities.

Protests in Portland, Oregon, on May Day devolved into a riot overnight when about 100 protesters staged “autonomous demonstrations” outside an ICE facility, prompting at least six arrests, including one person accused of threatening officers with a knife, the local police bureau said in a statement on Sunday.

“We appreciate those who engaged in their First Amendment rights this afternoon in a peaceful manner. Once again, under the cover of darkness, several dozen people decided to damage and destroy multiple businesses in our downtown area resulting in a riot,” Portland Police Bureau (PPB) chief Chuck Lovell is quoted in a statement as saying.

The police shared photos on Twitter of the storefront damage in the neighborhood. Three Starbucks windows were smashed, and graffiti was spray-painted on a Hilton in the city’s downtown. 

Police also shared what appeared to be a how-to pamphlet about how to build a slingshot using a sling and a hammer. Also published was a photo of equipment confiscated from another detainee, including knives and a bat.

A group of about 30 people gathered near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility between 9 and 10 pm local time Sunday, and another group of about 80 to 100 people gathered in Shemanski Park. The crowd marched to City Hall and began to engage in vandalism by smashing windows and spray painting the building. 

Upon the protesters’ arrival at the city’s Justice Center after leaving the City Hall area with their rally declared an “unlawful assembly,” the situation was declared a riot by the police authorities due to the “damage” sustained by local “businesses and government buildings,” as protesters ignored orders to disperse and leave the area.

​Soon after, “the group rampaging downtown began to disperse. PPB continued to display a presence in the area and make focused arrests of those engaged in criminal acts,” police said.

According to the statement, the group was disbanded by 11 pm local time. The crowd outside the ICE facility had grown to between 50 and 60 people by 11:30 pm, and a male in the crowd was attempting to break through the police line as officers were making a concentrated arrest, according to the police department. From about two meters away, he reportedly reached into his pocket and pulled a butterfly-type knife on police.

Officers have fired pepper ball rounds during the altercation, as apparently seen on a video shared by one of the reporters on site.

​Overall several peaceful protests took place across Portland on May 1, according to the PPB, and only one turned violent, causing material damage.

​”I am proud of all of our employees who worked to minimize further damage and arrest some of the criminals involved,” police chief Lovell added in a statement.

The arrested individuals were accused of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, rioting and resisting arrest, among other charges.

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