Police in Portland, Oregon, declared a riot after reports of people breaking windows at several businesses on Saturday night and Sunday morning as violence, riots, and looting persist in the city months after the death of George Floyd in May.
In a news release, police said that numerous businesses were damaged during a vandalism spree in the city’s Lloyd District.
“At about 7:15 p.m.,” Portland police said, “a group of about 150 people began a march from Irving Park, 875 Northeast Fremont Street. The march proceeded south on Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard into the Lloyd District area.”
Individuals in the group smashed windows at phone stores, a coffee shop, a bank, a hotel, a restaurant that was open, a computer store, and other businesses, said authorities. Police officers then were forced to declare a riot.
“We apologize to the members of the Lloyd District and Irvington Neighborhoods for the loud announcements; however, the group marching on NE 11th Ave have broken windows at multiple businesses on NE MLK Jr. Blvd and the Lloyd District,” according to the police bureau.
The vandals “have also thrown projectiles at police and pepper-sprayed community member bystanders,” said police.
“All persons must immediately leave the area,” police told the protesters. “Failure to adhere to this order may subject you to arrest, citation, or crowd control agents, including, but not limited to, tear gas and/or impact weapons. Disperse immediately.”
The crowd was dispersed about an hour later by police. No arrests were made, they said.
The organizers said it was a Halloween-themed event and used a Marxist-inspired tagline, “Capitalism is Scary,” as reported by OregonLive. “No cops! No prisons! Total abolition,” the crowd also chanted.
Portland has been the site of frequently, near-daily protests, riots, and general unrest following Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in the spring. The Portland protests saw renewed intensity after Jacob Blake was shot by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which also sparked acts of arson, riots, and mass vandalism in the Wisconsin city.
At one point over the summer, the White House deployed Department of Homeland Security officers to a federal courthouse in Portland after agitators attempted to set it on fire and attacked officers with little response from the Portland Police Bureau.
Approximately 1,000 protest- and riot-related arrests and subsequent referrals for prosecution were made by police since May 29, says Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office. Only about 130 cases have been prosecuted so far. More than 100 others have been arrested by federal agents, Billy Williams, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, said several months ago.