Federal officers deployed tear gas and fired less-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters in Oregon, hours after the the head of the Department of Homeland Security visited Portland and called the demonstrators “violent anarchists.”
Video showed many protesters leaving the area near the federal courthouse late Thursday as smoke filled the air. Protests have taken place for nearly two months in Portland, since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
A few hundred people had gathered near the federal courthouse Thursday night, news outlets reported. Police told protesters to leave after announcing they heard some chanting about burning down the building, according to The Oregonian.
A short time later, federal officers fired rounds and deployed tear gas to break up the crowd. Some protesters remained in the area early Friday and were detained, but it was unclear whether any arrests were made, the newspaper reported.
Local media also reported unidentified federal agents "dressed in camouflage" are driving around Portland in unmarked minivans and grabbing protesters off the street.
During a visit to Portland earlier Thursday, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said state and city authorities are to blame for not putting an end to the protests, angering local officials.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local officials have said they didn’t ask for help from federal law enforcement and have asked them to leave.