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Police, protesters clash again in Oregon

by The Associated Press | August 21, 2020 at 4:01 a.m.
Portland police declare a riot at the Multnomah County Building, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Protesters in Portland clashed with federal agents for the first time since July in a demonstration targeting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement building that started Wednesday night and lasted until it was broken up early Thursday, officials said.

The rioters spray-painted windows on the building, broke several windows and shined laser lights at agents inside -- prompting local police to declare the event a riot, meaning authorities could use tear gas and other riot control methods to break up the crowd, Portland police said in a statement.

Clashes ensued, with protesters hurling rocks and bottles at agents who came out of the building and at police, the statement said.

Tear gas and stun grenades were used by authorities around midnight to break up the crowd, but it wasn't clear which law enforcement agency used them, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The tear gas wafted through the open windows of residents living near the locations where the rioters and police confrontations took place, prompting complaints from the residents, the newspaper said.

Police arrested two people and several officers suffered minor injuries when they were hit with rocks, the Portland police statement said.

Demonstrations in which fires have been set, objects have been thrown and police have fired "crowd control munitions" have gripped Oregon's biggest city for more than two months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Participants have repeatedly broken into the offices of a police union headquarters building and last month clashed for weeks with federal agents dispatched to protect a U.S. courthouse targeted by demonstrators.

In another Portland riot that started late Tuesday and lasted into early Wednesday, demonstrators broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire.

Portland police declare a riot at the Multnomah County Building, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Officers made at least two arrests of protesters. Officials say protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set it on fire in a demonstration that ended with clashes with police. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
Portland police declare a riot at the Multnomah County Building, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Officers made at least two arrests of protesters. Officials say protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set it on fire in a demonstration that ended with clashes with police. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
A small fire was set inside of the Multnomah Building during a protest on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of the county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
A small fire was set inside of the Multnomah Building during a protest on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of the county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
A small fire was set inside of the Multnomah Building during a protest on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
A small fire was set inside of the Multnomah Building during a protest on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Protesters in Portland broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire in a demonstration that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning with clashes with police, officials said. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)
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