PORTLAND, Ore. – Several protesters who spent Wednesday afternoon and early evening blocking an entrance to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Portland have been arrested.
The protesters were standing on the sidewalk and locked arms to prevent a bus full of detainees from leaving the building and heading to an ICE Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.
Prior to some arrests, officers put hoods over protesters and removed what appeared to be tape that bounded their arms before hauling them away.
Portland police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley said protesters had a "sleeping dragon" wrapped around their arms. He said the device is often made up of a pipe and other materials that are difficult to cut through.
Burley said the sleeping dragon protesters on Wednesday used was comprised of plastic pipe, yarn, fabric, chicken wire, steel bolts and chains. At the time officers were going to remove the device, they believed the pipe was made of metal, and expected sparks to fly as a result of cutting through the metal.
For that reason, Burley said, officers put hoods over the heads of some protesters.
"In the process to remove people from blocking access and egress to a building in the 4300 block of SW Macadam Ave, specially trained officers were required to use tools that caused sparks. In order to protect protesters from the sparks, fire retardant hoods were placed on the protesters. In addition to the fire retardant hoods, officers placed ear muffs on the protesters to protect their hearing from any loud noises created by the tools. While the specially trained officers worked to remove people from this area, emergency medical personnel stood-by," Burley said in an emailed statement.
After authorities removed the protesters out of the way, the bus left at around 6:30 p.m.
Protest organizers said they want deportations to end immediately.