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‘Feds Go Home’: Protest Leaders Say ‘War Zone’ Demonstrations Haven’t Taken Away From Their Message

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The number of people participating in Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon increased after federal agents were deployed, the Associated Press reported, but protesters claim it has not affected their movement’s goals.

Protesters say the new focus on opposition to federal intervention combined with increased chaotic activity has not diverted from their message against racism, the AP reported.

“We cannot afford not to respond to this attack on our democracy, this attack on our Constitution,” Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said, the AP reported. “And we would be foolish to believe that we could stay focused just on Black lives and not address the physical assaults that are taking place.”

Federal agents have used tear gas and less-lethal weapons against protesters who participated in vandalism and set fires to the courthouse, the AP reported. Agency officials say they are required to protect federal officers and property, but local leaders say the presence of federal officers has led to more erratic behavior, according to the AP.

“As we witness Portland becoming a war zone, we understand clearly that this is an attempt to intimidate not just protesters on the streets of Portland but to derail our movement in defense of Black lives,” Movement For Black Lives Coalition organizer Chinyere Tutashinda said, the AP reported.

Tutashinda claimed the federal presence is a “failed strategy” to increase President Donald Trump’s re-election, the AP reported.

Democratic Oregon State Sen. Lew Frederick said the Trump administration “miscalculated” if it thought they could end protests by force and that he has seen an increase in black involvement with the protests, the AP reported. “It reignited the protest movement in Portland,” Frederick said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS: ‘Unlawful Assembly’ Declared In Portland As Fires Burn, Federal Officers Battle With Rioters)

Nationwide protests started after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd died during the arrest, video of the incident shows.

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