Trump threatens to bring in National Guard to Portland protests

Donald Trump has suggested bringing in the National Guard into Portland as he launched an attack on protesters in Oregon’s largest city.

The US president said he would like city and state officials to ask the Trump administration to “stop the riots” in Portland.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Another bad night of Rioting in Portland, Oregon. A small number of Federal troops there to protect courthouse and other Federal property only (great job!).

«Wanting to be asked by City & State to STOP THE RIOTS. Would bring in National Guard, end problem immediately. ASK!”

The Trump administration sent federal agents into Portland last month – with local and state officials saying the agents’ aggressive policing of Black Lives Matter protests exacerbated the situation.

Protesters in Portland have suffered heavy violence – being tear gassed as well as suffering blows from impact rounds, batons, flash bang grenades and other weapons.

A riot outside a police precinct in Portland was announced early on Saturday as smoke poured through the air outside the precinct.

The Portland police department announced they have made at least 500 arrests during nightly demonstrations since 29 May.

Protests against police brutality and racial inequality have spread across both Portland and the wider US in the wake of the 25 May death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer held him to the ground with a knee to his neck in Minnesota.

Authorities in Portland worked to clear a crowd announcing a riot early on Saturday outside the department’s north precinct. Smoke was deployed and officers physically forced protesters away from the area, news publications reported.

Police claimed windows were broken on patrol vehicles and items such as glass bottles were thrown and lasers were aimed at officers. Videos posted online showed several people being detained after the riot was announced but it was not immediately clear how many arrests may have been made.

Aaron Roussell, an associate professor of sociology at Portland State University, and Gisela Rodriguez Fernandez, an adjunct professor who specialises in race and ethnicity, warned the Portland Police Bureau has its “own record of brutality and murder of Black Portlanders, as well as those experiencing mental health challenges and houselessness”.

Writing in an article for the London School of Economics, the academics added: “It was the deployment of federal agents to quell Portland’s protest by overwhelming force and extra-judicial, paramilitary tactics such as taking protestors into unmarked vans, the declaration of a ‘no fly zone’ in downtown Portland, a circling Air Force Surveillance plane (presumably for gathering signals intelligence), bulk data surveillance of entire social media platforms, and mass arrests and injuries of protestors, including journalists, whose constitutional rights were subsequently hobbled.“

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