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Portland police: Federal agents used gas against protesters

Portland police: Federal agents used gas against protesters
Posted at 7:35 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 08:45:32-04

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police are describing in detail another night of conflict between protesters and federal forces outside the U.S. courthouse in Oregon’s largest city.

A department statement says police officers were not involved as federal forces repeatedly came out to disperse a crowd that broke a fence and set a fire outside the federal building.

President Donald Trump has decried the demonstrations, saying police in Portland had lost control and he deployed federal agents. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has blasted the protesters as “lawless anarchists."

But city and state officials say they didn't ask for the federal forces to intervene in protests against racial injustice that have gripped Portland for weeks.

Portland Mayor Tom Wheeler said Sunday that federal officers are not wanted. Oregon’s attorney general is seeking an order to stop federal agents from arresting people.

These statements come after reports that federal forces are driving around in unmarked vehicles and detaining demonstrators.

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House are asking for federal inspectors general to investigate federal law enforcement involvement in trying to quell nightly protests in Portland, Oregon, and other cities.

Lawmakers from New York and Mississippi said actions by federal law enforcement agencies are working to suppress First Amendment protected activities in Washington, D.C., and Portland.

The city has seen nearly two months of nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.