Portland, Oregon has been part of a strange and worrisome experiment as of late, as protesters and agitators continue to go toe-to-toe with authorities of all stripes in the northwestern metropolis.
The city has always been a haven for the left, and has often become a flashpoint for the national mood. This is no exception in 2020, as large groups of protesters and demonstrators have provided unwitting cover for the actions of extremist agitators and anarchists, who have transformed peaceful displays into chaos nearly nightly.
For several weeks, federal forces attempted to keep the peace in Portland, but their presence only seemed to exacerbate the violence, and freedom advocates on both sides of the aisle demanded that they be recalled.
Now that they have returned to their regular posts, the violence is ticking up in Portland once again.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf tweeted Monday that in the ten days since federal law enforcement officials had been withdrawn from their posts in Portland, Oregon, local police had declared twelve official riots.
Reality Check: It’s been 10 days since the agreement between DHS and Oregon. During that time, @PortlandPolice has declared riots or unlawful assemblies 12 times.
Rioting and arson are not actions of peaceful protesting. pic.twitter.com/4hdZ5Vi90b
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) August 11, 2020
Portland has long been a hotbed of extremist and violent political activity, particularly on the left. Exactly two years ago, Activists camped outside the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and attempted to trap agency employees inside the building. Mayor Ted Wheeler refused to act for weeks, leading ICE agents to accuse him of complicity in creating a “zone of terror.” A year later, Antifa activists attacked and seriously injured journalist Andy Ngô.
The latest protests featured nightly violence against law enforcement, including vandalism and arson at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent additional agents to protect. Rioters continued attacking federal officials, injuring many — including several who were blinded by laser beams.
Democrats, including Wheeler, who joined the rioters, claimed that the presence of federal law enforcement provoked the unrest, and that the demonstrators were “peaceful protesters.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the federal officers “stormtroopers,” and House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) called them the “Gestapo.”
There is no clear understanding of what will bring Portland back under control at this time, as the peaceful protesters who operate during the day and the extremists who rule the night are not at all on the same page.
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