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Rioters Set Fire to Federal Courthouse in Portland One Day after Fencing Removed

Federal law enforcement officers stand guard outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, U.S., July 29, 2020. (Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

Rioters targeted the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., on Thursday evening in renewed clashes between demonstrators and federal police.

The attack on the courthouse came one day after authorities removed fencing initially erected over the summer, in response to continued riots following the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers.

Footage showed the rioters attempting to force their way into the courthouse while chanting “f*** the United States!” Later in the evening rioters set a fire outside the courthouse entrance.

Federal police from the Department of Homeland Security clashed with rioters and attempted to force them away from the building.

Independent journalist Suzette Smith, a former editor of the Portland Mercury, reported on Twitter that the demonstration spun off from a protest earlier that day against the extension of an oil pipeline from the Canadian tar sands to Wisconsin. Smith also wrote that protesters cited the trial against Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, charged with third-degree murder in the death of Floyd, and the removal of the fence around the courthouse as spurring the demonstration.

Rioters gathered to attack the courthouse for weeks during the summer of 2020, and have also marched on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s home. City police spent almost $8 million responding to the riots, making over 900 arrests throughout 120 consecutive days of unrest.

Portland police announced on Thursday that they were “aware” of additional demonstrations being planned for this coming weekend.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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