Fourth night of protests in Portland as National Guard deployed

Two arrests were made after a gathering of more than 100 protesters was broken up

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As the US is kept on tenterhooks waiting to find out who is elected president, protesters in Portland, Oregon, hit the streets for the fourth night this week.

The crowd was smaller than previous evenings, which saw Black Lives Matter marches attract hundreds of Portland residents and snake through the city’s streets.

However Thursday evening saw multiple law enforcement officials descend on the 100-plus gathering in the Arbor Lodge neighbourhood, and culminated in two arrests – including a member of the press.

Antifa protesters initially gathered at Arbor Lodge park and marched on city commissioner Dan Ryan’s residence, after Portland City Council rejected a plan to cut the police budget by $18 (£13.7) million.

However a convoy of police and state troopers arrived to declare the protest an unlawful gathering, and eventually arrested freelance photojournalist Clementson Supriyadi, who was on the sidewalk at the time of his arrest. He was taken to a police station, and later cited and released.

The protest was shut down by the Unified Command of the Oregon State Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the Portland Police Bureau, the command structure established by Oregon Governer Kate Brown.

Brown issued her executive order, which allows multiple agencies to respond to election-related unrest, on Monday and recently extended it through Friday.

“Across the United States, elections officials are working hard to ensure that every vote is counted, and it may be several days until we know the results of this election,” said Governor Brown in a release Wednesday.

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“It’s important to trust the process and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis.

Portland protests fourth night of protests in portland as national guard deployed

“All Oregonians have the right to free expression and peaceful assembly,” she continued. “But political violence, intimidation, and property destruction will not be tolerated. We are all in this together – so let’s work together to keep our fellow Oregonians safe.”

Despite the order, the National Guard was dispatched on Wednesday evening to quell violence that had erupted in the city centre.

Multiple arrests were made at the protest, which started off as a peaceful Black Lives Matter march, but culminated in an antifa group splitting off.

Protesters smashed shop front windows, vandalised ATMs and parking meters, leading the city to declare the event a “riot”.

The district attorney’s office said they have initiated charges against two of the 13 individuals who were arrested.

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Tensions are high in a city that has seen months of civil unrest, beginning with the George Floyd protests in May. Since then, there has been a protest of some sort in the city almost every night, although locals say things had begun to wind down.

Now, however, campaigners are fired back up and ready to march.

“I’ve been out I’d say once or twice a week,” says protesters Sean, who did not wish to reveal his surname.

“It’s frustrating because when we peaceful march, nobody pays any notice. But when things get violent, the media want to cover it and so it gets into the news. Obviously we don’t want to cause trouble but sometimes that is the only way people would listen.”

Sean added the “main thing” he was marching for was better community funding and services.

The protests in the Pacific North West show no signs of slowing down just yet: on Saturday a far-right rally will be held in nearby Vancouver, Washington.

Regardless of the result, there is plenty to protest about, and no doubt there will be many more who take to the streets – either in celebration or defiance – once the next president is announced.

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