United Nations rights body urges USA to rein in police at protests

Monday, 27 Jul, 2020

They carried signs as they marched to the courthouse.

Late Saturday, Seattle Police said 45 people were arrested in connection with the demonstrations, which they designated a riot, according to the force's official Twitter account.

Despite the judge's ruling, thousands of protesters took to the streets Friday night near Portland's Hatfield Federal Courthouse, facing off against the federal officers stationed there.

Durkan repeatedly cited her tenure as US attorney for Western Washington, saying it was common for federal agents to be sent to cities, but not without notification or over the city's objections.

Wheeler has opposed the federal agents' presence but has also faced harsh criticism from the protesters, who yelled and swore at him. They were met with fireworks shot over the fence. She argued that their lack of recognizable police uniforms, failure to identify themselves when arresting protesters, and use of unmarked vehicles make them indistinguishable from "lawless militia" or "kidnappers".

As some protesters attempted to cut the fence using power tools, streams of pepper spray were spewed at the crowd.

Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf denied that federal agents were inflaming the situation in Portland and said Wheeler legitimised criminality by joining demonstrators, whom Trump has called "anarchists and agitators".

At the nearby Justice Center, images and words were projected onto the building including "Keep fighting". But in OR, officials have accused the federal government of inflaming the situation and asked it to withdraw.

Portland is different, however, in that the protest movement here took on another cause after President Donald Trump sent in federal forces around the July 4 holiday in order to protect federal statues.

Demonstrators tore down a fence surrounding Portland's federal courthouse building where US agents have been stationed.

Robart, who is presiding over a 2012 consent decree requiring the city to address allegations of excessive force and biased policing, said the issue needed more discussion between the city and the Justice Department before that law could go into effect. They're reported to have started fires outside and vandalised the building that United States authorities say they have a duty to protect.

Mr Horowitz said investigators will "examine the DOJ's and its law enforcement components' roles and responsibilities in responding to protest activity and civil unrest in Washington, DC, and in Portland, Oregon over the prior two months". If you want to support Portland, stop the violence.

"The Chief of Police has therefore made clear that this Directive ... will result in changes to [Seattle Police Department] procedures such that will increase the danger to either the public or officers", it read.

The clashes in Portland have further inflamed the nation's political tensions and triggered a crisis over the limits of federal power as Trump moves to send USA officers to other Democratic-led cities as part of his new "law and order" re-election strategy after the coronavirus crashed the economy. We have received a great deal of support from many members of the community who have felt compelled to communicate with words and messages of kindness.

The Federal Protective Service had declared the gathering in Portland that began Friday evening an unlawful assembly. Fireworks can also be seen exploding outside the courthouse. He later criticized officials in Portland for allowing demonstrations to get "totally out of control".