UPDATE (2:26 p.m. PT) — Portland police arrested about 50 protesters Saturday night outside the city's Justice Center, which operates as a police bureau and downtown jail. The bureau also praised a separate late-night protest on the city's east side as "a well managed demonstration for all involved to exercise First Amendment rights."
Numerous protests have taken place each day and night across Portland and across the nation as demonstrators demand justice for George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minnesota after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Saturday’s downtown clash between demonstrators and police took place following a protest and march that originated at Pioneer Courthouse Square around 6 p.m., and eventually made its way to the Justice Center.
That building has been a flash point of conflict between demonstrators and law enforcement since protests began over a week ago. On Friday, May 29, protesters broke into the Justice Center and set a fire inside.
During the day Saturday, observers saw officials bolstering fences and barricades that had already been established around the building.
According to a Portland Police Bureau press release, Saturday night’s downtown demonstrators started engaging in criminal behavior early in the evening. “The behaviors included shining laser pointers, using mirrors to direct light at officers, hurling items at officers over the fence including balloons full of paint, full cans of beverages,” the press release said.
People also attempted to cut the fence or knock it over, and “lit commercial-grade fireworks at officers,” police said. The police bureau said two deputies were injured by a firework tossed over the fence.
Police said they declared an unlawful assembly at 10:50 p.m., and began to arrest protesters who would not disperse after 11:30 p.m. Police said the crowd was fully dispersed by 2 a.m.
Much of the night’s activity could be watched from a new perspective, as law enforcement for the first time adopted a communication tactic widely used by demonstrators: a video livestream of events.
Portland Police Bureau Lieutenant Tina Jones said in an email to media that police plan to continue attempting livestreams at future protests as well.
Police said Sunday afternoon that 48 people had been arrested in the previous night's protests. In most cases, the people who were arrested face charges of interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct, or both.