Portland Rioters Hurl ‘Commercial Grade Fireworks’ at Officers, Launch Mortars Toward the Federal Courthouse

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, center, joins other demonstrators in Portland, Ore., during a protest against police brutality and racism, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer

Violence erupted in Portland late Thursday into Friday morning as a “couple hundred” demonstrators gathered near the Justice Center for a protest that descended into a riot, as participants hurled commercial-grade fireworks, large rocks, and bottles at officers and launched mortars toward the federal courthouse.

According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), a “couple hundred” protesters gathered at the Justice Center late Thursday, blocking streets, chanting and speaking “for several hours” before the group began to move, ultimately breaking the glass doors of the Federal Court House building.

The mounting acts of destruction prompted authorities to come outside to “protect the integrity of their building.” Protesters met officers with hostility, launching “large rocks, full cans, and bottles” with sling shots. According to PPB, demonstrators also threw lit commercial-grade fireworks, one of which landed in the federal courthouse.

Demonstrators continued in their lawless activities even as a sound truck told them to disperse, at which point authorities declared a riot:

“If demonstrators did not leave the area, they were subject to tear gas and crowd control munitions. The sound truck gave this admonishment several times, however, demonstrators continued to stay in the area,” PPB reported.

Demonstrators did not respond peacefully, throwing large rocks and commercial-grade fireworks toward officers. One individual reportedly hurled an open pocket knife at an officer, which came “within inches from striking them”:

Chaos continued as demonstrators “started launching mortars towards the federal courthouse,” ultimately setting a fire in the federal courthouse:

As the PPB detailed:

Around 12:46 a.m., demonstrators returned to the west side of the federal courthouse. Once again, demonstrators were warned by the sound truck that the riot declaration was still in effect and they needed to leave the area. At this time, demonstrators started launching mortars towards the federal courthouse and a fire erupted inside of the building where the glass doors had been broken.

Because of this immediate life safety issue, officers once again began to disperse the crowd. As they dispersed the crowd, demonstrators continued to throw rocks, cans, and commercial grade fireworks and mortars towards officers. Because of the violent nature of the demonstrators while officers cleared the area, crowd control munitions were used and several arrests were made. As officers began to disengage the crowd at Southwest Main Street and Southwest Broadway Avenue, commercial grade fireworks were once again thrown at officers.

“Several” arrests were made, according to PPB, which noted that “no CS gas was used by Portland Police Bureau officers during this event.”

The violent night follows days of chaos as demonstrators have set fires near the police precinct and have continued to lash out at officers clamping down on the lawless behavior.

Early Thursday morning, protesters set fire to the historic 120-year-old Thompson Elk Fountain in downtown Portland:

According to journalist Andy Ngo, who has extensive experience covering the violent “Antifa” movement, the group’s “stated goal is to deplete the city of resources so police are defunded”:

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