The gathering in Portland on Aug. 2 was peaceful, police officials said.
Nightly riots since May in Oregon’s largest city have caused tens of millions in damage and lost business.
The level of violence has been decreasing in recent days, according to federal and city officials, though rioters on Saturday night attacked police officers.
A group estimated at a couple hundred gathered in Lownsdale Square Park in downtown Portland on Sunday. The park is near the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, a federal building the Trump administration has focused on protecting due to near-nightly assaults.
“The gathering spilled out into the streets surrounding the park. Vehicular traffic was unable to get through for several hours,” the Portland Police Bureau said in an incident summary.
“By midnight, the majority of the crowd left the area. Portland Police Bureau members did not interact with the gathering,” it added.
Police described the gathering as a “peaceful event.”
Video footage from the scene showed little violence, apart from a fire and one person in the crowd punching another.
Protesters are openly admonishing those who allegedly want to stir up trouble, even threatening to kill one. Infighting among those gathering downtown is not uncommon as accusations fly about intentions and ideology.
People gave speeches and milled around the park and the Justice Center late Sunday. One speaker said people are coming out because they’re restricted from doing a number of things during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We get lost in the sauce and we lose the message. The whole message of ‘black lives matter’ has been hijacked. Look at them, there’s a party over there. That [expletive] party is because bars are closed. Ain’t no [expletive] clubs going on. And because there ain’t no bars or clubs open, this is the new bar, this is the new club over there,” he told those assembled.
State and city officials reached an agreement with federal officers late last month to work together to try to quell the violence in Portland.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said on July 30 that he was hopeful the collaboration “will lead us to a better place as far as quelling some of nightly violence and making a safer environment, not only for officers, but also for people who are coming down to express their First Amendment rights.”
“I think it’s always important to reiterate, not everyone down there is engaged in criminal, violent, bad activity. That’s a small subset of a bigger group who’s had an interest in speaking out on this topic,” he added in a virtual press conference.
While noting that Portland Police declared an unlawful assembly Saturday night, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said activity around the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse continued “in an overall trend of diminishing violence as a result of the increased cooperation between state and federal law enforcement.”
“In stark contrast to the intense weekend violence in Portland over the past two months, protests around federal property remained generally peaceful, with minor incidents of malicious activity and vandalism,” the agency said in a summary of the nightly activity.
Still, the enhanced number of DHS personnel will remain on the ground until officials determine that the courthouse and other federal property are safe.