Department of Homeland Security officers pointed guns at Black Lives Matter supporters in Portland, Oregon, on Friday night and used teargas and other projectiles in an attempt to disperse the gatherings.
The protesters were marching from Elizabeth Caruthers Park in the city to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building at around 8 p.m. local time as part of ongoing demonstrations there.
Portland-based journalist Garrison Davis reported that hundreds of protesters arrived at the ICE building where armed and armored DHS officers were waiting for them behind the building’s gate.
The demonstrators brought makeshift shields to the front of the protest and carried signs saying “Abolish ICE.”
Newsweek subscription offers >
DHS declared an unlawful assembly and then gave the crowd two minutes to disperse, but the protesters instead moved closer to the gate, according to footage Davis shared on Twitter.
The DHS officers entered the crowd and arrested two people and some pointed guns at the crowd.
The officers then advanced through the streets of Portland, pushing the protesters back and using gas or smoke. At one point, footage shows yellow gas and camouflaged officers in the lead.
The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) also declared an unlawful assembly and threatened to use teargas. When DHS officers pulled back toward the ICE building, protesters followed them.
The officers then stormed into the street again and used teargas, stun grenades and other projectiles on the crowd, according to video and Davis’ report. Federal officers used teargas and smoke as the protest continued.
Protesters erected a shield wall as officers continued to deploy gas and stun grenades against them. The wall reportedly held until PPB officers charged it from behind and made several arrests.
PPB maintained that the protest was an unlawful assembly as those arrested were taken away amid clouds of gas in Portland’s streets. The protest was still ongoing at the time of writing.
The incident comes as DHS officers’ presence in the city continues to be controversial. The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, has repeatedly called for federal law enforcement to leave the city.
Last Thursday, Wheeler ordered Portland police not to use CS gas on protesters following its use against people in their homes and cars who weren’t participating in protests.
Oregon state police called Wheeler’s decision “reckless and shortsighted” but the mayor argued that other methods of crowd control had to be found.
“During the last hundred days Portland, Multnomah County and state police have all relied on CS gas where there is a threat to life safety,” Wheeler said. “We need something different. We need it now.”