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Portland Riot Rages On in Wake of Oregon's Failed Lawsuit Against Feds

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Thousands of agitators gathered outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, into the early hours on Saturday.

The demonstration went until federal agents entered the crowd around 2:30 a.m. and marched in a line down the street, clearing remaining protesters with tear gas. They also extinguished a large fire in the street outside the courthouse.

Portland has been roiled by nightly protests for two months following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

President Donald Trump has sent federal agents to Oregon’s largest city to put an end to the unrest.

Late Friday a federal judge denied a request by Oregon’s attorney general to restrict the actions of federal police.

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The Federal Protective Service had declared the gathering in Portland that began Friday evening as “an unlawful assembly” and said that officers had been injured.

As the crowd dispersed, someone was found stabbed nearby, Portland police said. The person was taken to a hospital and a suspect was taken into custody.

By 3 a.m., most demonstrators had left, with only some small groups roaming the streets.

Earlier Friday night, the protest had drawn various organized groups. As the crowd grew — authorities estimate there were 3,000 present at the peak of the protest — people were heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Feds go home” to the sound of drums.

Do you support the federal government intervening in the Portland protests?

Later, protesters vigorously shook the fence surrounding the courthouse, shot fireworks towards the building and threw glass bottles.

Police tear gas caused protesters to disperse at times, while others remained with leaf blowers directing the gas back to the courthouse. Federal agents had leaf blowers of their own to counteract.

It was unclear whether anyone was arrested during the protest. The federal agents have arrested dozens during nightly demonstrations that often turn violent.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued, saying some people had been whisked off the streets in unmarked vehicles.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled Friday that the state lacked standing to sue on behalf of protesters because the lawsuit was a “highly unusual one with a particular set of rules.”

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The lawsuit accused federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause and using excessive force. She sought a temporary restraining order to “immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.”

David Morrell, an attorney for the U.S. government, called the motion “extraordinary” and told the judge in a hearing this week that it was based solely on “a few threadbare declarations” from witnesses and a Twitter video.

Morrell called the protests “dangerous and volatile.”

Rosenblum said the ramifications of the ruling were “extremely troubling.”

“Individuals mistreated by these federal agents can sue for damages, but they can’t get a judge to restrain this unlawful conduct more generally,” Rosenblum said in a statement.

Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf denied that federal agents were inflaming the situation in Portland and said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler legitimized criminality by joining agitators.

Wolf said Tuesday that at least 43 people had been arrested on federal charges. Charges included assaulting federal officers, arson and damaging federal property, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said.

All the defendants are local and were released after making a court appearance.


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