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Portland police arrest protesters who damaged ICE, buildings

Police in Portland said they confiscated batons, irritant spray, Molotov cocktails, knives and a crowbar from protesters on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Portland Police Bureau/Twitter
Police in Portland said they confiscated batons, irritant spray, Molotov cocktails, knives and a crowbar from protesters on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Portland Police Bureau/Twitter

Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Police in Portland said late Wednesday that officers have arrested a number of people after protesters damaged a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility and the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon.

The Portland Police Bureau said it had made a number of arrests after about 150 people, some wearing gas masks and helmets and carrying shields, pepper ball guns, batons, tasers and rocks, congregated around an ICE facility.

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The protest was declared unlawful after some of the demonstrators threw rocks and eggs at the building, Portland Police Sgt. Kevin Allen said in a late Wednesday update.

"Federal law enforcement has used crowd control munitions," he said.

The number of people arrested and their identities were not immediately available but their detainment followed an earlier protest during which officers arrested eight people after protesters vandalized the offices of the Democratic Party of Oregon and moved dumpsters into the street and lit their contents on fire.

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Charges rang from criminal mischief, possession of a destructive device to riot and reckless burning, Allen said, adding officers confiscated batons, irritant spray, Molotov cocktails, knives and a crowbar from the protesters.

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"We are frustrated and disappointed about the damage done to our Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters in Portland this afternoon," the party said in a statement. "This is not the first time our building has been vandalized during the past year -- none of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different."

The extent of the damage to either building was unclear but windows were smashed and graffiti was painted on the Democratic Party headquarters.

The vandalism of the buildings followed police clashing with protesters earlier in the day when dozens of people who had gathered for a protest at the parking lot of Revolution Hall bore down on officers who had arrived on the scene as similar protests in the past few months had led to violence and destruction.

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The protesters, police said, stole one of the officers bicycles and prevented them from leaving the area.

"Many in the crowd began blocking or stopping officers as they attempted to leave," the statement said. "Some officers had to push people away with their hands."

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More officers arrived on the scene, confiscating long poles and a large knife from those in the crowd, the statement said.

"As officers left the parking lot they dropped one smoke canister between themselves and the crowd of people to ensure they could safely ride away," it said.

Police have warned that anyone involved in criminal behavior will be arrested and charged.

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