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Protesters Rally Downtown In Wake Of Report Of 175 Federal Agents Coming To Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Trump administration is planning to send federal agents to Chicago, and the White House plan sparked protests downtown Monday night.

Early Monday evening, a group marched amid news that the Trump administration is preparing to send 175 federal agents to Chicago this week, according to a memo obtained from CBS News.

The protest was initially planned in response to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara Jr.'s letter to President Donald Trump essentially extending the invitation to federal agents.

After about 100 people gathered at Federal Plaza, the protesters were on the move, heading north near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. There was a skirmish between some Chicago Police officers and protesters, apparently as police tried to keep the protesters on the sidewalk.

Protesters stopped for a moment on Michigan Avenue near Trump Tower. Police on horses and raised bridges kept demonstrators at a distance.

Peaceful demonstrators also returned to Grant Park Monday night, again gathering near the statue of Christopher Columbus.

On Friday at that same location, chaos erupted between police and people the department called "agitators," who were seen throwing bottles and cans at officers.

CBS News has learned the Trump Administration will be sending 175 federal agents to Chicago this week to assist police in curbing violent crime. The agents will come from Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Nashville, and likely Atlanta.

President Trump repeatedly has criticized Chicago's handling of gun violence during his term, and last week he vowed to bring down crime in cities like Chicago "even if we have to go in and take over."

"He's been talking about it for years. It's not something new," said activist Niko Eastwind. "Now he's acting on it."

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Monday night, there are concerns about federal agents in Chicago amid reports of what has been happening in Portland, Oregon.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum late Friday sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court. The complaint says that unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland's streets "without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action."

Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to "immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians."

"The current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary," Rosenblum said in a statement.

The administration has enlisted federal agents, including the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and an elite U.S. Customs and Border Protection team based on the U.S.-Mexico border, to protect federal property.

But Oregon Public Broadcasting reported this week that some agents had been driving around in unmarked vans and snatching protesters from streets not near federal property, without identifying themselves.

"Trump threatens to use it in Chicago and other cities in the days ahead, and we are simply saying that can't happen," said Bishop Greg L. Greer, an event organizer.

"This is going to be a nightmare for humanity if this allowed to go forward," Eastwind added.

Earlier in the day Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters she had "great concerns" about the possibility of Trump deploying federal agents in Chicago, "particularly given the track record in the city of Portland."

"We don't need federal agents, without any insignia, taking people off the street and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That's not what we need," she added.

Mayor Lightfoot said she spoke with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler about the outrage caused by the federal presence there.

She also penned a letter to the President Trump, saying federal troops on city streets will only flare violent crime.

"This actually has real consequences on people living and dying," said rally organizer Ted Sirota.

Sources said the federal agents will focus on illegal gun sales, outstanding warrant, and gun violence.


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