Antifa extremists reportedly attacked law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday night, vandalizing businesses and lighting fires.
The riot took place after a separate peaceful rally that took place earlier in the evening, Portland police said that the activists had been “sing[ing] and chant[ing] as they walked peacefully.”
Shortly after the peaceful protest took place, a group of people “wearing helmets and carrying gas masks, backpacks, and tote bags” arrived. Portland police declared a riot and described the events that unfolded as reported by the Daily Wire:
- People tried to get a fire started in the dumpster. Many people approached the Justice Center holding umbrellas to obscure their actions and movements. At least two people pried at doors on the north side of the building. Several people used umbrellas to conceal their actions and lit a fire in the dumpster at about 9:21 p.m. while people chanted to burn the building down.
- Officers moved toward the crowd to create space for Portland Fire and Rescue to safely enter the block to put out the dumpster fire against the building. People threw frozen water bottles, glass bottles, eggs, and metal spikes at officers and fired mortar-style fireworks at officers. People tore down fencing around Chapman Square Park and used fence segments to block Southwest 4th Avenue near Southwest Main Street.
- Police cleared metal spikes from the street so firefighters could get close enough to extinguish the fire. People in the crowd formed rows while those closer to the front of the crowd held umbrellas to obscure the view behind them. People from further back threw objects at officers including frozen water bottles, eggs, and metal spikes. When the fire was out and firefighters got safely away, officers deployed smoke then left the area.
- While the crowd blocked the intersection of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street, some people incited others to move through the city to destroy property. At about 9:51 p.m. the crowd of over 200 moved west toward City Hall where people broke out windows. They walked north along Southwest 5th Avenue breaking windows and damaging property.
- As the crowd walked through downtown, some people broke windows and damaged property at businesses. Slowly, as the number of people in the crowd became smaller and smaller, they began to spread out, fight among themselves and light occasional trash can fires. People within the crowd were overheard saying the night was a success.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was questioned during his Senate confirmation hearing in February if he regarded the extremist violence throughout Portland as “acts of domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”
“Well, senator, my own definition, which is about the same as the statutory definition is the use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes,” Garland responded. “So an attack on a courthouse while in operation, trying to prevent judges from actually deciding cases that plainly is, um, domestic extremism, um, domestic terrorism.”
“An attack simply on government property at night or any other kind of circumstances is a clear crime and a serious one and should be punished,” Garland responded. “I don’t mean, I don’t know enough about the facts of the example you’re talking about, but that’s where I draw the line when it one is, both are criminal, but one is a core attack on our democratic institutions.”