Images from Portland show federal law-enforcement agents using military tactics to break up demonstrations against the city’s wishes

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Federal agents using crowd-control munitions to disperse protesters near the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland, Oregon. AP Photo/Noah Berger
  • Armed federal agents, some from the Department of Homeland Security, have been patrolling the streets of Portland, Oregon, using military tactics and putting protesters into unmarked vans.
  • Demonstrators have reported being arrested by federal agents without explanation as well as being teargassed and hit with impact munitions.
  • In response, the city’s leadership has demanded the immediate removal of federal officers, and officials have filed a lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of unlawful practices.
  • Protests against police brutality and racism have been taking place in Portland for more than 50 days, and President Donald Trump, who supports federal intervention, has called the demonstrators “anarchists and agitators.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Armed federal agents have been patrolling the streets in Portland, Oregon, in a dramatic show of force in which some protesters describe being thrown into unmarked vans.

The federal officers were deployed at the recommendation of President Donald Trump, who directed agencies to organise personnel in cities to protect monuments, statues, and federal property during demonstrations.

The officers have been seen throwing protesters into unmarked vehicles, issuing arrests without explanation, shooting protesters at close range with impact munitions, and teargassing large crowds.

The deployment includes a team of officers from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, and the Coast Guard, The New York Times reported.

But state and local officials didn’t request the officers.

Gov. Kate Brown has called the deployment a “blatant abuse of power,” and the state’s attorney general is suing the Department of Homeland Security, accusing the administration of unlawful policing tactics. A criminal investigation has also been opened after a protester was injured in a bloody scene that was captured on video.

These photos show what’s unfolding in Portland.


Federal agents, some reporting to the Department of Homeland Security, others to Customs and Border Protection or other federal agencies, have been patrolling the streets of Portland, Oregon.

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Federal agents used crowd-control munitions to disperse protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: Business Insider


The officers were sent in at the recommendation of President Donald Trump, who issued an executive order allowing federal agents to be deployed to cities to protect monuments, statues, and federal property during demonstrations.

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Federal law-enforcement officers, deployed under the Trump administration’s new executive order, facing off with protesters in Portland on Saturday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: The New York Times, White House


But militarised federal agents have been seen targeting demonstrators outside this decree.

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Federal agents using crowd-control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland on Monday. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: Business Insider


The federal officers have used tear gars, smoke bombs, nonlethal munition, stun grenades, and sometimes-brutal force to break up demonstrations.

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Federal agents using crowd-control munitions in Portland on Sunday. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Sources: AP, The Oregonian


Officers have been roaming the streets in unmarked vans, seizing protesters without explanation. A candidate for a US House seat shared the video below, which he said showed federal agents unlawfully detaining someone in an unmarked vehicle.

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Federal officers preparing to disperse a crowd of protesters in Portland on Friday. Mason Trinca/Getty Images

https://twitter.com/QasimRashid/status/1284117114547298304?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

Source: Business Insider


“It felt like I was being hunted for no reason,” one protester who was chased by an unmarked van told The New York Times. “It feels like fascism.”

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A protester walking away from chemical irritants in Portland on Sunday. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: The New York Times


The agencies have been given the authority to make arrests if they think a federal crime was committed, but local officials maintain that many arrests have been unwarranted and unprompted.

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Federal law-enforcement officers facing off with protesters in Portland on Saturday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider


Oregon’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the US Marshals Service meant to stop federal agents from arresting people, saying the officers have grabbed people “without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action.”

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Federal law-enforcement officers in Portland on Friday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: Business Insider


“The current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law-enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary,” Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, said in a statement.

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Federal agents in Portland on Monday. Officers used tear gas and projectiles to move the crowd after some protesters tore down a fence fronting the courthouse. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: Business Insider


Additionally, prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation after a protester was shot in the head by a nonlethal weapon. Another video showed a Navy veteran, Christopher David, being beaten and sprayed with chemicals after asking the officers to remember their oath to protect the Constitution.

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David being sprayed by officers in Portland. The Portland Tribune/Reuters

Source:Insider


It’s often difficult to tell which agency the federal officers are with because their uniforms don’t always say.

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David flipping off the officers who were recorded attacking him in Portland. The Portland Tribune/Reuters

Gov. Kate Brown has called the deployment a “blatant abuse of power,” and Mayor Ted Wheeler declared the use of force an “attack on our democracy.”

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Federal officers using tear gas and other crowd-dispersal munitions on protesters outside the Multnomah County Justice Centre on Friday in Portland. Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


On Friday, Democratic lawmakers throughout the state sent a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and US Attorney General William Barr, demanding the removal of federal agents.

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Federal law-enforcement officers walking toward demonstrators during a protest against racial inequality in Portland on Saturday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: Business Insider


But Trump defended their actions by saying they were there to take “control of the anarchists and agitators.”

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A smoke grenade burning in front of federal law-enforcement officers, deployed under the Trump administration’s new executive order to protect federal monuments and buildings, during a protest against racial inequality in Portland on Friday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: Insider


Portland has held demonstrations against police brutality and racism every day since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25.

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A demonstrator speaking with a crowd during a protest against racial inequality in Portland on Friday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: Business Insider


Demonstrators have used a variety of peaceful tactics to combat injustice, with a small minority of protesters engaging in violent or destructive behaviour.

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A demonstration in front of the Multnomah County Justice Centre in Portland on Friday. ANKUR DHOLAKIA/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times


But the Trump administration has consistently used rhetoric to denote all demonstrators as “anarchists” and “violent.” On Thursday, Wolf, the acting DHS secretary, claimed the federal deployment was in response to the city being “under siege” by “a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city.”

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Federal agents dispersing Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland on Monday. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: Insider


On Friday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the city’s downtown Justice Centre, and a few protesters dismantled a chain-link fence that blocked access to closed city parks across the street.

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Protestors raised their hands up in solidarity after Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty spoke to the crowd on Friday. Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Source: AP


In response, federal agents used impact munitions, stun grenades, and tear gas to clear the area.

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Source: Business Insider


But local journalists reported that they did not observe any incident from protesters that might normally have prompted the use of such weapons.

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Orion Crabb held his head back as a medic worked to remove tear gas from his eyes during a protest in Portland on Friday. REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Source: Business Insider


Clashes between police officers and protesters continued throughout the weekend, and local law enforcement joined forced with federal agents to break up demonstrations.

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Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Sunday in Portland. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: Business Insider


To help protect protesters from being arrested or hurt, a group of local women formed what was billed as a nonthreatening “wall of mums” in front of demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday.

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Source: Insider


But federal agents continued to deploy tear gas and other tactics to break up demonstrations. In response, larger crowds of protesters have gathered, and some have come prepared with shields and protective equipment.

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Protesters standing in preparation for conflict against federal law enforcers at the Multnomah County Justice Centre on Friday. Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


One protester who’s attended roughly 40 demonstrations told The New York Times: “We’re not leaving.”

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A Black Lives Matter protester carrying a shield while facing off against federal officers at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Monday in Portland. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Source: The New York Times

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