DHS chief denounces ‘lawless anarchists’ in Portland amid ongoing protestsJuly 17, 2020
The head of the Department of Homeland Security is denouncing ongoing violence in Portland, ripping the protesters in Oregon’s largest city as “lawless anarchists” who have wreaked havoc for nearly 50 consecutive days.
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf issued a lengthy statement Thursday hours before meeting with federal law enforcement officials in Portland, where a “violent mob” has overtaken the city as local political leaders “refuse to restore order” amid 47 straight days of protests, he said.
“Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it,” Wolf wrote. “A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice – to attack is to attack America.”
Wolf’s statement also accused local and state leaders of “placing blame” on law enforcement officers while simultaneously requesting fewer cops, resulting in a “failed response” that has only served to bolster the “violent mob” each day.
“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law,” Wolf wrote. “DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler, meanwhile, tweeted Thursday he was aware that DHS leadership was in Portland.
“We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline,” Wheeler wrote.
Wheeler said Wolf spoke to him Tuesday about the ongoing “demonstration activity” in Portland and asked how his agency could help. Wheeler said his immediate concern was the “violence” federal officers brought to the city’s streets.
“We do not need or want their help,” Wheeler tweeted Tuesday.
Federal officers late Thursday responded to protesters at two federal buildings in downtown Portland, where they were met with gas, smoke and impact munitions, The Oregonian reports.
About 200 demonstrators went to police precinct in the city’s East Burnside section, where several cops were outside in riot gear, the newspaper reports.
“Who do you protect?” protesters chanted. “Who do you serve?”
It’s unclear how many arrested were made by Portland police or federal officers, The Oregonian reports.
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