Portland police declared a riot Wednesday for the second night in a row and used tear gas to disperse protesters gathered outside a police precinct, The Oregonian reports. The demonstration reiterated the growing divide among Portlanders who have protested police violence every night since late May. Confrontations between police and protesters have shifted from downtown to police buildings across the city, where a faction of protesters gather every night. Downtown protests have not drawn a large-scale police response since July 29, the final day federal officers directed security of the federal courthouse. Calls for calm gained momentum downtown at the same time state police took over.
In recent nights, demonstrators have converged in front of a second eastside precinct and the police union building more than six miles from downtown. The precinct is in a residential area, surrounded by apartments. About 100 people arrived after 9 p.m., chanting, “No good cops in a racist system!” Within 15 minutes, police used a loudspeaker to tell “peaceful” people to leave because of criminal activity. The size of the crowd increased to 200. Police called the gathering unlawful at 9:45 p.m., and told people to leave immediately. People wearing yellow t-shirts formed a line and linked arms at the south end of the street. They repeated, “Black lives matter!” About 9:55 p.m., police declared the gathering a riot, warning that if people did not leave, they would be subject to arrest or dispersal by impact munitions or tear gas. Officers in riot gear set off stun grenades. They also used CS gas, a type of tear gas, citing “life safety issues created by members in the group.” Wednesday marked the first time police have used tear gas to disperse Portland protesters since federal authorities relinquished control of federal courthouse security to the state police last week.