Initially, people assembled near the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland to call for Ted Wheeler to abolish police within the city and to demand that President Donald Trump remove the federal agents who have been the focus of the demonstrations over the past few days.
Ted Wheeler spoke to the crowd from a raised balcony and was jeered by many of the people in attendance, who shouted “f*ck Ted Wheeler” and held signs suggesting the Portland mayor should be tear-gassed.
“I want to thank the thousands of you who have come out to oppose the Trump administration’s occupation of this city,” Ted Wheeler said. “The reason this is important is it is not just happening in Portland… we’re on the front line here in Portland.”
After shouting “Black Lives Matter” and raising his fist in the air, the jeering stopped temporarily and the crowd cheered the Democratic mayor.
Protesters then gathered outside of the federal courthouse in downtown, which has been walled off with temporary fencing. As demonstrators rattled the fences and lit a fire in front of the building, agents warned the assembled crowd if they did not disperse, they would be subject to crowd control efforts or arrest.
Shortly after, federal officers emerged from the courthouse and shot stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd. Ted Wheeler was near the fence as the cloud of gas moved through, though it isn’t clear if the officers knew that the mayor was there. He stuck to his position near the front as the gas raged.
Afterward, Ted Wheeler appeared to be dazed and his eyes watered as he coughed. He was given water to drink and put on a pair of goggles to help protect him from ongoing wafts of the chemical weapon.
The agents continued to deploy tear gas multiple times throughout the evening as the protesters continued to chant and throw objects, including fireworks, at the building.
The federal presence in the city has heated up demonstrations, which had largely faded out in the city. Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf denied that agents were inflaming the situation.
“What we know is before DHS law enforcement, civil law enforcement, officers arrived in Portland, the mayor is on record as saying that the city is on — has a certain level of violence,” he said. “It was ongoing well for a month before we arrived.”
On previous nights, agents have fired gas into a crowd of mothers and were filmed beating a Navy veteran with a baton, breaking his arm, as The Inquisitr previously reported.