Protesters and police weren’t the only ones squaring off in Portland — President Trump jumped into the fray with words.
Only hours before cops and activists faced off early Saturday on the city’s east side, the president once again accused “anarchists” and “mobs” of orchestrating the demonstrations.
The confrontation took place at a Portland police building after a long standoff between the police and about 300 protesters.
The officers tried to break up the crowd with stun grenades, pepper spray, impact munitions and physical force, but the crowd pushed back by throwing eggs. A handful were detained and a photojournalist was arrested for trespassing, the Oregonian reported.
Later, police claimed they decided to end the standoff because protesters started throwing rocks and explosive devices.
In other “direct action” rallies at police buildings, smaller groups of protesters have started fires in trash cans, damaged property and thrown things at cops, Oregonian reported. Police have responded “in force” every night, once using tear gas.
Saturday’s confrontation started as a gathering in a park around 8:30 a.m. Friday. The demonstrators, dressed in black, walked to the Kelly building, which is shared by city and county law enforcement. The building has been the backdrop for many clashes between police and protesters.
By nightfall, the gathering had grown to a crowd of about 100 protesters, who were met by police in riot gear with flashing bright lights. The confrontation came around 1 a.m. but police haven’t released the number of arrests.
At his New Jersey country club, the president accused Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler of allowing “anarchists” and “mobs” to have free rein over the city after federal officers stopped policing the demonstrations last week.
“Mayor Wheeler has abdicated his duty and surrendered his city to the mob,” the president said.
Wheeler, who also serves as Portland’s police commissioner, didn’t respond to the president’s accusations.
Protests have been held almost nightly in Portland since the killing in late May of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
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