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Feds withdrawing from Portland after Gov. calls them ‘occupying force bringing violence’

Protests at Portland, Oregon's Federal Courthouse were met with tear gas and "less-lethal" munitions and many arrests, July 16, 2020, on 50th night of demonstrations in the city. (John Rudoff/Sipa USA/TNS)
July 29, 2020

All federal law enforcement agents will be leaving Portland on Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on Wednesday.

“After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence. Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland,” Brown announced in a tweet.

“Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace. Let’s center the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands for racial justice and police accountability. It’s time for bold action to reform police practices,” she added.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf also released a statement on Wednesday, saying he and Brown had agreed on a plan involving a “robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland” to protect the city and federal property.

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Wolf said that federal law enforcement officers have protected federal property in Portland from violence and destruction and will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation there to ensure properties are protected.

“We will maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure,” Wolf said in a later tweet.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Trump praised federal law enforcement for protecting Portland from damage inflicted by rioters, who he called “anarchists.”

“They’re anarchists.  Nothing short of anarchists, agitators.  And we have protected it very powerfully.  And if we didn’t go there, I will tell you, you wouldn’t have a courthouse,” Trump said. “You’d have a billion-dollar burned-out building.”

Demonstrators have committed violent acts nearly every night for the past two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The demonstrators attack barriers established to protect buildings, set fires, launch fireworks and Molotov cocktails, and throw objects such as bricks, rocks, and bottles at buildings and law enforcement agents. Dozens of officers have been injured, including 20 over the last weekend alone.