Riot swiftly declared for Portland protest at union building

A riot was again declared by authorities Sunday night in Portland when protesters marched to a police union building, blocked a road and set dumpster fires as officers work to quell nightly unrest in Oregon’s largest city.

The protest was broken up almost as soon as it formed outside the Portland Police Association building — the same building where protesters were dispersed after a fire was started inside the union’s offices the night before. Demonstrators had marched to the building from a nearby park. The road was blocked with fencing, and flames were seen rising from dumpsters in the middle of the street.

Police began forcing the crowd of a couple hundred away from the building. While demonstrators were being dispersed, commercial-grade fireworks were thrown at officers, injuring two, police said. The department released photos of the officers’ injuries, including a photo of a face covering that "partially melted" from the firework. The officers were treated at the scene.

Some protesters returned to the union building after officers cleared the area. Police said the road was again blocked with fencing and small fires broke out in the street. Multiple people were arrested, police stated, but specific details weren’t immediately available.

Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, protests have occurred nightly in the city for more than 70 days.

Demonstrations this past week have been violent. Many in the city had hoped for calm after federal agents withdrew more than a week ago.

Three officers were hurt, including two who were taken to a hospital, during the efforts to clear the crowd of several hundred people outside the union building late Saturday. The two hospitalized officers have since been released. Nine people were arrested during that protest, police said in an earlier statement.

Police arrested 24 people during demonstrations overnight Friday after they said people defied orders to disperse and threw rocks, frozen or hard-boiled eggs and commercial-grade fireworks at officers. Some demonstrators filled pool noodles with nails and placed them in the road, causing extensive damage to a patrol vehicle, police said.

The gatherings this past week had been noticeably smaller than the crowds of thousands who turned out nightly for about two weeks in July to protest the presence of U.S. agents sent by the Trump administration to protect the federal courthouse downtown.

The Portland Police Association is a labor union that represents members of the Portland Police Bureau. Its building is located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of the federal courthouse.