The attorney general of the US state of Oregon has filed an order to stop federal agents from arresting people in Portland as the city continues to witness protests for seven weeks and have now pitted local officials against the Trump administration.
On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered for a vigil outside the downtown Justice Center, which is sandwiched between two federal buildings. Federal agents wearing camouflaged outfits and Homeland Security uniforms emerged from an office building next door and used impact munitions, stun grenades and tear gas to clear the area.
This overnight action was condemned widely.
The protests in Oregon continued every day since the murder of George Floyd, on May 25 by Minneapolis police officials. President Trump has condemned the protesters and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called the protesters as “lawless anarchists”.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local authorities called for the federal agents to leave to ease the tense situation between protesters and security forces.
“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Wheeler said Friday.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Friday sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court. The petition claimed unidentified federal agents grabbed people off Portland’s streets “without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action.”
Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to “immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.”
“The current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary,” Rosenblum said in a statement.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that some agents driving around in unmarked vans and snatching protesters from streets not near federal property, without identifying themselves.