NBC News published an interview with the U.S. Marshal’s service about the nightly protests at the courthouse in Portland. U.S. Marshal for Oregon Russel E. Burger defended the actions of the Marshals and said there was a contingent of a few hundred “violent opportunists” in the city which he believes are connected to Antifa or the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front.
After that July 4th weekend, the courthouse was boarded up, a fence built around the perimeter for extra reinforcements. Since then, the attacks from over the fence with projectiles have been relentless.
NBC News got a firsthand look at some of those weapons.
Bricks, batteries, frozen water bottles, sling shots with ball bearings, feces, urine, bleach and canned goods have been launched over the fence at deputies.
Professional fireworks and mortar rounds stuffed with nails are lit and fired at them, like IED’s in a war zone…
Burger says the attacks are coordinated, rioters using portable radios and communicating with encrypted messaging on cellphones. He says it usually begins around midnight with a hard corps group of 250 to 300 violent opportunists as he describes them, who have stayed behind after the peaceful protestors have gone home.
According to Burger, militant movements and groups with a strong presence in the Northwest, like Antifa and the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front are behind the late night attacks.
Burger said that federal police will be leaving as soon as the violence in Portland stops and added, “And trust me, they’re ready to go home.” So how soon will that be?
Last night was the second night in a row that protesters refrained from getting violent. They are clearly trying to make sure the feds go home:
Demetria Hester leads a group of self-identified mothers who have become a fixture at the protests. She led a march to the demonstrations Friday and remained there for hours, calling out people whose actions might provoke police.
At the start of the night, Hester reminded the crowd they had gathered in unity in the Black Lives Matter cause.
Hester called the crowd “woke,” and said, “We won’t go back to sleep.”…
By 11 p.m., there were few signs, if any, of destruction or actions that have drawn police out in the past, such as blinking lights, lasers, fireworks and objects hurled over the fence. Chants and drum beats filled the air. Police kept away.
When three young people started hitting the fence with homemade shields, Hester walked by with a megaphone and told them their actions do not help the broader movement.
Some people dressed in black and holding Black Lives Matter signs started a small fire and fed it with, among other things, a bible (just one, not a stack). Not a very smart messaging strategy here.
Left-wing activists bring a stack of Bibles to burn in front of the federal courthouse in Portland. pic.twitter.com/lYWY0x8n8P
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 1, 2020
However, a few minutes later other protesters doused a small fire that someone had set directly in front of the courthouse fence. If the crowd had behaved this way last week, there wouldn’t have been any tear gas used or confrontations with federal police who only came out of the building when fires were set or people were trying to pull down the fence.
Still the question is how long the calm can last. This has become an openly anti-police movement and as such it is one that thrives on conflict with police. If the nightly protests lack that drama, fewer people will show up. The violence may be attributable to a smaller contingent of anarchists but it’s clearly the show a substantial portion of the crowd comes to see.
Here’s the NBC News report: