Tear gas deployed as federal agents clash with Portland protesters

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tear gas was reportedly deployed in downtown Portland as federal agents clashed with protesters early Wednesday morning.

Around 4 a.m., there were multiple reports of federal agents engaging with protesters in the city.

Video shows clouds of gas wafting through the streets as federal officers advanced downtown.

This comes as the 47th night of consecutive Portland protests spilled into the early morning hours. On Tuesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told the acting Homeland Security secretary that federal law enforcement agents should “leave Portland altogether” after days of increasing tensions between protesters downtown.

According to police, demonstrators had been setting up barricades at Southwest Main Street and Southwest Salmon Street at Southwest 3rd Avenue for several hours around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday evening. Those barricades reportedly blocked several lanes of traffic.

While barricades were being assembled, protesters also lit a fire in the base of what used to be Portland’s Elk Fountain statue.

Just before 1:30 a.m., officers removed some of the barricade as some demonstrators returned to the area. Police say the officers disengaged, but demonstrators continued to throw glass bottles and pointed lasers at them.

A fire was lit to what remained of the barricade, but other protesters extinguished it. Over the next hour, police say the crowd surrounding the barricade dissipated.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, no tear gas was used by their officers.

Rose City Justice, the group responsible for orchestrating the largest marches in Portland in previous weeks, gathered again at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland on Tuesday after a two-week hiatus. But their return to the protest spotlight didn’t come without criticism.

Another group gathered at Revolution Hall on Tuesday. Members said they wanted to hold RCJ accountable.

“Folks came out here to hold Rose City Justice accountable for several different reasons,” said protester Tazha Williams. “One of those reasons being leadership with Rose City Justice has not treated other Black women in leadership with respect and also a lot of the money that has been donated to Rose City Justice has not been transparently accounted for.”

Also on Tuesday, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship organized a group meditation event supporting the Black Lives Matter cause. The hour-long event was expected to start at 7 p.m. at Chapman Square. Organizers said participants can expect to “sit with the suffering caused by racist violence and police brutality and with the wish for all beings to be safe.”

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