Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler was one of many demonstrators who were tear-gassed by federal officers late Wednesday, during civil rights protests in the city that have now gone on for nearly 60 nights.
Wheeler was marching with a crowd near the city’s federal courthouse when government officers began to disperse the activists. President Donald Trump sent the officers to Portland to guard federal property, like the courthouse.
Trump said he sent the officers earlier this month after receiving intelligence that the building might be attacked.
Wednesday night, officers fired tear gas shortly before midnight and Portland police said fireworks were set off by a nearby debris fire. After cautioning the crowd to leave, the officers used more tear gas, witnesses said.
Portland officials, including Wheeler, have criticized the presence of federal officers, saying they have only escalated tensions.
“I was made aware of concerns within the community that federal agents may be authorized to use live ammunition on demonstrators this evening,” Wheeler tweeted earlier Wednesday night.
“I am sharing this information publicly out of an abundance of caution.”
Thursday, Portland police repeated a “riot warning” and said the crowd created a “grave risk of public alarm.”
City police made no arrests but federal officers took at least two people into custody.
Wednesday, the Portland City Council voted to bar police from cooperating with federal enforcement agents or intentionally using force to detain journalists and legal observers. City lawmakers said the federal officers’ presence in the city directly influenced the measure.
Photo Credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ted_Wheeler_portrait.jpg