PORTLAND, Ore. - Demonstrations continued overnight in Portland despite a crackdown from federal agents that local authorities say is only making things worse.
According to the Portland Police Department, a large crowd gathered last night downtown, then marched throught the streets before convening again about 11:30 p.m. near the federal courthouse and the Multnomah County Justice Center.
The protests were largely peaceful until that time, when protesters spray-painted buildings, climbed over fences and pounded on plywood that was in place to protect the property.
"People were using hammers, crowbars and other pry tools. Many people could be seen carrying bats and shields, people wore helmets and gas masks ... Hundreds of people were packed tightly in the portico on the west side of the courthouse pushing toward the entrance," police said.
Police said federal agents used tear gas and other measures to break up the crowds around 12:45 a.m., but the protests continued, with demonstrators lighting several fires throughout downtown.
Federal officers intervened multiple times last night, but demonstrators still managed to break windows at City Hall and loot a downtown jewelry store. The disruption continued until after 3 a.m.
Portland Police said their officers did not use tear gas or make any arrests.
Demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality have happened every day in Oregon’s largest city since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd on May 25.
Federal agents, some wearing camouflage and some wearing dark Homeland Security uniforms, have used tear gas and other measures repeatedly to break up crowds.
They've also been arresting and detaining protesters. The acting Homeland Security chief and President Trump have said the agents are there to protect federal buildings from "lawless anarchists," but agents have been picking up protesters in areas not surrounding federal property.
Their presence has alarmed officials at every level of government. Oregon’s attorney general has sued the federal government and is seeking an order to stop federal agents from arresting people in Portland.
“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday.
Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan joined five other U.S. mayors in penning a letter to the feds telling them to keep federal agents out of major U.S. cities. The Trump administration has threatened to send more agents to more cities if unrest continues.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany started her press briefing Tuesday by calling the protests and violence in Portland "unacceptable" and criticized Portland's mayor and Oregon's governor for "giving violence a pass."
"They're unwilling to admit they've lost control of their city," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.