Federal law enforcement agents are clamping down on demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, following the Trump administration’s latest executive order to protect U.S. monuments in what the Democratic governor of the state labeled the “political theatre.”
“It’s kidnapping people! “One person stated off-camera as the officers marched away from a protester.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson said Friday agents are in Portland to support the recently introduced U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unit. Republican President Donald Trump commissioned the unit to enforce last month’s executive order to protect federal monuments and buildings.
The spokeswoman would not give details. She stated that it might jeopardize the safety of the officers.
In addition to Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are offering assistance to the DHS Federal Protective Service. Besides, it offers security for federal buildings, ICE added.
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Oregon Governor Kate Brown dubbed it “Federal government’s blatant abuse of power.”
Meanwhile, media reports confirmed that federal agents arrested 13 people.
Portland demonstrator Conner O’Shea stated agents were following him in an unmarked truck on Wednesday. It happened while he and his friend were heading back to their cars. “I know they’re targeting people that are doing graffiti and laser pointing,” he added. “We haven’t done any of this, which makes it all the scarier.”
“It’s horrible, and I believe as Americans we’ve read about things like this going on in other countries, you know, in the 70s, 80s textbooks,” he said.
Protest in Portland
People, protesting racism and police brutality, have assembled around the Portland federal court daily since the murder of African American George Floyd in an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25. Sometimes, the crowd surpasses 10,000.
Portland police used tear gas on the demonstrators, some of whom sprayed graffiti on buildings, till Governor Brown banned its use in early July except in the case of riots. “For everyone’s safety, CBP agents immediately moved the suspect to a safe spot for further interrogation,” the spokeswoman said.
Throughout the incident, she said agents wore a CBP insignia but that their identities were not revealed to protect them from retaliation.
Another footage shows an agent shoving away medics attempting to help someone. And yet another video showed a protester profusely bleeding from his head after federal troops allegedly shot him with a non-lethal munition firing weapon.
Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, said the U.S. Marshals Service “will perform a thorough investigation” into the shooting.
A senior DHS official stated officers were arresting people for attacking federal officials and damaging federal properties but did not include specific instances. The official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter, dismissed the suggestion that anyone had been arrested without a good reason.
“Federal officers don’t go around arresting people for no good reason,” the official said. “This is not Communist China.”
The U.S. Department of Justice did not answer a request for comment on the arrests and any charges linked.
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf went to Portland on Thursday. He issued a statement that provided several violations DHS officers faced in Portland since late May and lauded them in a series of tweets Friday.
“For 48 straight days, these brave men and women have protected our institutions of justice against violent anarchists,” he wrote. He added that DHS officers were “assaulted with lasers and frozen water bottles,” and mentioned two injured officers.
Wheeler, the mayor of Portland and a Democrat like Brown, said he didn’t meet Wolf or the DHS committee.
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