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Federal officers again tear-gas Portland protesters as the biggest crowd in weeks gathers

Federal agents under scrutiny in Portland
Federal agents under scrutiny after clashes with protesters in Portland 03:21

Portland, Oregon — This city remained a flashpoint in nationwide demonstrations for racial justice and against police brutality as the biggest crowd in weeks gathered Monday night, reports CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV. But federal authorities used tear gas for the seventh night in a row as well as flash bangs and other crowd-control munitions against protesters downtown.

KOIN reporters witnessed protesters and federal officers face off near SW 3rd Avenue and Main Street and saw authorities use pepper balls and throw tear gas canisters and flash bangs.

Portland police said early Tuesday on social media that federal law enforcement personnel in the area were using tear gas and that hundreds of protesters had scattered to surrounding streets, adding that some were "throwing projectiles" and were "armed with clubs hammers and other weapons."

It was unclear whether any demonstrators were arrested or detained.

Before federal officers used force against the protesters, a movement of moms and dads drew hundreds of parents dressed in yellow and orange, respectively, first to Salmon Street Springs, and then to the federal courthouse and neighboring Justice Center.

People have been galvanized by the presence of federal officers deployed by President Trump to protect federal property. Their presence and use of force have been condemned by local and state leaders.

More than 1,000 people had gathered on SW 3rd Avenue by 10 p.m. People took turns speaking to the crowd, which responded with cheers and echoed chants. At one point, demonstrators broke out in song: "If Black lives matter, clap your hands."

Federal authorities deployed tear gas and other crowd-control munitions after rushing out of the courthouse around 12:30 a.m. when some protesters banged on a boarded-up door and peeled back some plywood. That drove hundreds of demonstrators away from the Justice Center and federal courthouse area.

KOIN digital enterprise reporter Hannah Ray Lambert was on-scene all night tweeting videos such as this one:

Protesters and federal officers continued to face off around the courthouse and in the surrounding parks. Authorities used pepper balls and flash bangs in addition to throwing canisters of tear gas as they worked to repair a damaged boarded door to the courthouse, while protesters shouted and kicked the canisters back.

By 1:30 a.m., federal authorities had returned to the courthouse. KOIN reporters saw some protesters cheer and throw some items at the building, to which federal officers responded by shooting pepper balls through a hole in the plywood. 

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