Federal agents tear-gassed protesters and made arrests again despite of announcements made by state leaders that the agents would soon leave the city soon.
Governor Kate Brown announced early Wednesday that all Customs and Border Protection & ICE agents deployed to control protesters in Portland would soon depart and will be replaced by Oregon State Police beginning Thursday.
However, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf countered the announcement, and said that the agents will not go anywhere “until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked.”
Federal agents first warned protesters to leave the fence around the courthouse alone or face potential arrest, but it only took a few minutes for them to start deploying tear gas and crowd control munitions.
When some people climbed over the fence and climbed back out, federal agents deployed another round of tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to deter the large crowd.
There are moments when veterans with signs and protesters holding American flags met face-to-face with federal agents in a silent standoff.
One of the vets, a U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran and doctor of occupational therapy Christine VanOsdol said, “I’m out here to stand for the United States Constitution and for people’s right to free speech and to stand here and ask for better from our leaders.”
Air Force veteran Jiri Rivers exclaimed that seeing federal agents on the streets of Portland “fills him with rage.”
The officers then proceeded to arrest protesters, holding them face-down on the ground, handcuffed, and dragged through a garage door on the back side of the courthouse building.
At around 2am, some protesters hopped the fence and threw things over it, which was promptly reciprocated with another round of pepper balls from federal agents.