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EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS: Portland PD Declares Riot, Works With Federal Officers To Battle Rioters After Courthouse Fencing Is Torn Down

Shelby Talcott Media Reporter
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PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Police Department declared Saturday’s protest a riot after members of the crowd successfully tore down fencing in front of the federal courthouse.

Saturday evening began with two crowds – one stationed in front of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and another marching from Alberta Park. The two groups converged at the courthouse just after 11 p.m., with the Alberta Park group arriving as a standoff had already begun between protesters and federal officers.

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Members of the crowd repeatedly launched fireworks over the fence where federal officers were stationed, according to Daily Caller reporters on the ground. In return, officers used crowd control munitions, including tear gas and pepper bullets.

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The back-and-forth battle between crowd members and federal officers has been consistent each night, reporters on the ground said. The crowd has recently found more ways to combat officers, including chasing after tear gas canisters and tossing them back over the fence.

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Earlier in the day, Craig Gabriel, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, told reporters that officers would not engage with the protesters if the fence was left alone.

“If the protesters don’t seek to damage or destroy the fence, then the officers have no need to go outside the fence or leave federal property,” Gabriel told reporters during a press briefing Saturday afternoon. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS: Hours-Long Battle In Downtown Portland Ensues As Rioters Refuse To Back Down On Day 58)

Despite this statement, members of the crowd appeared undeterred, focusing their efforts once again on tearing the fence down.

After officers retreated back into the court house, multiple attempts were made to dismantle the fence. Electric saws, hammers and ropes were among the items used to try to breach the perimeter, reporters noted.

One group successfully tore it down just after 1 a.m. Sunday, following hours of efforts. Officers responded immediately and a lengthy standoff ensued between federal officers and the crowd – the latter of whom seems to be growing more organized by the day. Many members of the crowd brought makeshift shields and banded together to form a wall aimed at protecting them from crowd control munitions.

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Following a lengthy back and forth standoff between federal officers and the crowd, Portland PD declared the assembly a riot. Federal officers moved in, forcing the crowd to retreat as they swept the area around the courthouse. Officers continued deploying various less-lethal rounds in an attempt to disperse rioters.

Portland PD’s declaration allowed police officers to arrive as backup for the federal officers, who are stationed in the city to protect the federal building and not to act as riot police. Loudspeaker announcements rang through downtown Portland, warning rioters that failing to disperse could result in arrest and use of force.

Daily Caller reporters witnessed multiple rioters get detained by Portland officers. Many of the detainments were physical and Portland police often responded to aggressive rioters with force. Officers continued to disperse the crowd and ultimately pushed a large group about half a mile away from the courthouse.

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After successfully dispersing much of the crowd, over a dozen Portland police officers and federal officers remained stationed in front of the courthouse. Some rioters returned, heckling the officers standing guard.

Just after 4 a.m., another round of crowd control munitions were fired off after one rioter threw a water bottle at an officer. This further dispersed the crowd, but still some remained, standing off against officers even as the sun began to creep up in the city.