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Portland police declare protest outside Justice Center a riot, make multiple arrests

Police said demonstrators threw items at officers and started a fire inside the courthouse. Police used crowd control munitions but said they didn't use tear gas.
Credit: Portland police
A fire outside the Justice Center during a protest on Thursday, July 2, 2020 in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police declared a protest outside the Justice Center a riot Thursday night and arrested multiple people after police said demonstrators threw items at officers and started a fire inside the federal courthouse.

Police said a couple hundred people protested outside the Justice Center. Shortly before midnight, some demonstrators broke into the building and others broke glass doors on the federal courthouse building, according to police.

Some demonstrators also used slingshots to launch large rocks, full cans and bottles at officers and at 11:52, police said they declared a riot and told demonstrators if they didn't leave the area, tear gas and other crowd control munitions would be used.

When demonstrators didn't move, officers began to disperse the crowd and demonstrators continued to throw rocks, cans and fireworks at the officers. One person threw an open pocketknife at an officer, according to police.

The group moved to Southwest 6th Avenue and Main Street and at around 12:45 a.m., police said demonstrators came back to the courthouse and started throwing mortars at the building. One of the mortars started a fire inside the courthouse where the glass doors had been previously broken, according to police.

Credit: Portland police
A mortar explodes during a protest on Thursday, July 2, 2020 in Portland, Ore.

Officers started to disperse the crowd again and police said demonstrators continued to throw rocks, cans, fireworks and mortars at the officers. Police said they used crowd control munitions to disperse the crowd.

Police said they used no tear gas Thursday night and Friday morning.

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