One of the more popular events, “Re-centering why we are here – BLM,” was hosted by the NAACP. Speakers included activists as well as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.
Merkley and Hardesty spoke about policies they are putting forward, including to cut police funding and restrict chokeholds. “The next thing we need you to do is vote like your life depends on it, because guess what, it does,” Hardesty said.
For the first time since the presence of federal agents in Portland diminished law enforcement and protesters noticeably clashed Saturday night. With the federal drawdown noticeable, protesters turned their ire toward local law enforcement. As one group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse, another marched to a precinct for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau.
Police stated that protesters threw glass bottles and directed lasers at officers. Just before 10 p.m., Portland police declared an unlawful assembly and told people to disperse, or they may be subject to use of force or be arrested. Police could be seen charging, multiple times, at protesters in the area. The protests on Thursday and Friday attracted more than 1,000 people.
At one point during Friday’s protest, a lone firework was shot at the courthouse. In the weeks past, the action would be met with more fireworks or teargas canisters being dropped over the fence into the crowd. This time, protesters chastised the person who shot the firework, pleading to keep the demonstration peaceful.
Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown (D) has clashed with the Trump administration in recent weeks over the presence of federal troops. This drawdown stems from a deal between the governor’s office and the Trump administration.
Portland had seen more than two months of violent protests and riots following the death of George Floyd after Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes in Minneapolis at the end of May. In early July, President Donald Trump sent more federal agents to the city to protect the federal courthouse. Local officials have claimed their presence has made things worse.
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