Hundreds of leftist activists took to Bend, Oregon on Wednesday to protest US Immigration and Customs Enforcement by blocking two buses. The mob clashed for two hours with federal agents, in a standoff that lasted for more than ten hours in total.
The tensions in Bend, which is three hours from Portland, is the latest flashpoint in ongoing clashes between leftist activists, Antifa against law enforcement officials and the federal government.
Fox News reports that the standoff began when immigration agents arrested two men they said were a “threat to the public.” Protesters refused to allow the buses through for hours. Some protesters even lied about what happened.
In one instance, a protest attendee falsely claimed to have been “tear gassed” at the protest, in a video that showed no presence of either teargas or gas masks. Federal agents did not wear them.
The protester claimed that he saw ICE agents dragging the detainee “through gravel and broken glass barefoot. Inhumane treatment.” In the video he shared, an ICE agent can be seen picking up the detainee and hoisting him above his shoulders because he had no shoes on.
According to KTVZ, an activist attending the protest said that the intention was to impede the transport vehicles until federal agents could produce warrants. Bend has declared itself a “sanctuary city.”
Around midnight, federal agents removed the two men from the buses and departed the scene, prompting the protest mob to scatter.
"It appears the Federal Agents have left the area," Bend police wrote on Twitter. "The attendees of the first amendment event appear to have [dispersed] peacefully."
Bend police stated that they were aware of the ICE’s operations in the area but were not involved.
“We do not use funds or personnel or equipment to enforce federal immigration laws or to detain people based on immigration status…We are on scene to allow free speech and a peaceful area to assemble and to provide life safety support.”
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel condemned the federal agents, stating on Twitter that he has “never been so disgusted” by the government.
Following these remarks, ICE released a statement on the protest explaining why they arrested the two men and put them on busses. It stated:
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of [ICE]’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street. The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior. While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”