Portland: Protesters Attack Federal Courthouse With More Demonstrations Planned Over the Weekend
Protesters clashed with federal officers at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S Courthouse in Portland, OR, Thursday night, days after the security fence surrounding the building erected in response to the protests last summer was removed.
The protests came in response to the proposed Line 3 pipeline. The pipeline will involve the construction of 330 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline, replacing the original 282 miles of the existing 34-inch Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. The proposed pipeline will largely follow the route of the original Line 3 pipeline, transporting an average of 760,000 barrels of oil per day between Canada’s oil sands and refineries in Minnesota.
Opposition to the pipeline has cited issues such as climate change and damage to watersheds used in farming by the Anishinaabe tribe. Earlier on Thursday, protesters marched through downtown to protest the pipeline, the demonstration focusing largely on financial institutions.
However, violence erupted later on Thursday evening as protesters clashed with federal officers at the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in downtown Portland. This came after the metal security fence - which was erected for the protection of the Courthouse during the racial protests last summer at a cost of $200,000 - was disassembled. As reported by The Oregonian, there was an estimated $2.3 million in damage to federal buildings in Oregon during last summer’s protests, including $1.6 million in damage to the downtown courthouse.
According to reports from the scene, protesters lit fires and smashed windows of the court buildings. Independent journalists at the scene reported that there were 3 sustained pushes by federal security services against the protesters, with officers employing tear gas and riot shields. In a previously removed tweet, it was shown that a security guard pulled a gun on a protester who appeared to be attempting to enter the building and at least one person has been arrested after punching an officer. Burnings of US flags were also reported.
However, it is believed that a significant number of protesters at the scene are citing other motives, particularly the trial of Derek Chauvin who is charged with the murder of George Floyd last year. George Floyd’s death sparked massive protests in Portland in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, which saw militants clash with police on an unprecedented scale.
Andy Ngô, Author of the recent New York Times bestseller “Unmasked”, accused far-left anarchist group Antifa as the culprits for the fires and violence on Thursday night. Today, Portland Police confirmed on Twitter that further protests were expected on Friday and over the weekend, with Demonstration Liason Officers being employed to “better ensure a safe environment for event participants and non-participating community members”.