Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Monday said residents are “sick and tired” of people engaging in destructive behavior following months of unrest fueled by nightly protests that have often devolved into violence and vandalism.
Wheeler’s statement comes after a weekend where businesses and other buildings were damaged, including the breaking of windows, during a downtown gathering, FOX 12 reported.
“The community is sick and tired of people engaging in criminal destruction and violence and doing it under the guise of some noble cause,” Wheeler, a Democrat, said during a Monday night news briefing with local leaders.
Demonstrators engaged in vandalism Friday when they gathered near the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, which had been targeted for vandalism in multiple protests last year. Fencing around the building was reinstalled Sunday shortly after being removed last week.
“The people who work here support the voices of racial and social justice and will not be intimidated from doing our jobs by the ugly graffiti or broken windows,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon. “We do not confuse the voices of the many with the shouts of the few who hope to hold our city hostage by petty crime and violence.”
Protesters have gathered for months to call for police reform and an end to racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many events have been peaceful, but many have also given way to chaos as small groups smashing windows, setting fires, assault and other violent acts.
On Friday, around 100 people marched through the city’s Pearl District, smashing windows and blocking the street using chairs and tables from outdoor dining areas. Police responded by creating a perimeter and detaining people in a block in a controversial tactic known as “kettling.”
Some threw rocks at officers and one person threw a full can of beer. Officers discovered numerous items left behind by the group including a crowbar, hammers, bear spray, slugging weapon with rocks, high impact slingshot and knives.
At least 13 people were arrested.
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