Portland police declare unlawful assembly during protest

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Noah Berger

A Department of Homeland Security officer emerges from the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse after demonstrators lit a fire on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Following an agreement between Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Trump administration to reduce federal officers in the city, nightly protests remained largely peaceful without major confrontations between protesters and officers. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The Portland Police Bureau declared an unlawful assembly Saturday night when people gathered outside a police precinct in Oregon's largest city and threw bottles toward officers, police said.

Until that point, federal, state and local law enforcement had been seemingly absent from the protests Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The demonstrations — that for weeks ended with tear gas, fireworks shot towards buildings, federal agents on the street and injuries to protesters and officers — have recently ended with chanting and conversations.

Activists and Oregon officials urged people at Saturday night’s protest in Portland to re-center the focus on Black Lives Matter, three days after the Trump administration agreed to reduce the presence of federal agents.

Groups gathered Saturday evening in various areas around downtown Portland to listen to speakers and prepare to march to the Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.

One of the more popular events, “Re-centering why we are here - BLM,” was hosted by the NAACP. Speakers included activists as well as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

Merkley and Hardesty spoke about policies they are putting forward, including to cut police funding and restrict chokeholds.

“The next thing we need you to do is vote like your life depends on it, because guess what, it does,” Hardesty said.

For the first time since the presence of federal agents in Portland diminished law enforcement and protesters noticeably clashed Saturday night.