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Large protest at Jefferson High School; another group topples Washington statue on Sandy Blvd.

On Thursday, a large group led by Rose City Justice gathered at Jefferson High School.
Credit: Eric Patterson

PORTLAND, Ore — On Thursday, a large group led by Rose City Justice gathered at Jefferson High School to listen to activists and community members speak.

This is the third week of protests in Oregon as groups continue to call out racial injustices and for an end to police brutality.

Protests were sparked after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The rally at Jefferson High School on Thursday night lasted for several hours.

Early Thursday morning, Portland police had cleared out a protest that had been building overnight in the Pearl District outside Mayor Ted Wheeler's apartment.

Wheeler addressed the idea that protesters might have been setting up an "autonomous zone" and occupying the area like Seattle protesters have done in the Capitol Hill area.

"If the autonomous zone that they want to set up here is like what they have in Seattle, I am 100% opposed," he said. "Because what I'm hearing about the autonomous zone: No. 1, they have armed people walking around; No. 2, they're asking people for their papers at the entrance to the autonomous zone. That doesn't sound great."

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Portland police said a second group gathered downtown near the Justice Center on Southwest 3rd Avenue, between Southwest Main and Southwest Madison Street, blocking the street for several hours, throwing hot dogs and other items at the Justice Center doors and damaging the fence outside. 

A third group gathered in the 5700 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard and set the George Washington statue on fire. Around 11 p.m., the group tore down and vandalized statue before splitting off into surrounding neighborhoods.