Reports are coming out that police in Portland, Oregon declared a demonstration, allegedly protesting police brutality, a riot after the protestors allegedly tried to burn down the Multnomah County Justice Center.
Here is the important point, it only involved 200 people and many were intent on violence. The police media release on the riot stated:
Officers began dispersing the crowd in an effort to move them from the immediate area. During this lawful action, the demonstrators were very hostile and violent towards officers. An open pocket knife was thrown at an officer, coming within inches from striking them. Demonstrators continued to throw large rocks and full cans, as well as shot off commercial grade fireworks towards officers.
This is very similar to what happened in Madison, Wisconsin when about 150 people broke off from a peaceful demonstration numbering 1,000 and began rioting, setting fires, vandalizing and looting businesses.
There are clearly two groups involved in the demonstrations. Those that peacefully want to protest and a much smaller minority allegedly composed of anarchists and Marxists intent on causing destruction and chaos.
New York Post describes what happened:
The protest late Thursday began with a “couple hundred” people outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, where some demonstrators shot off fireworks as the crowd blocked nearby streets, Portland police said in a statement Friday.
The demonstration then turned violent just before midnight after federal officers moved outside the courthouse to protect the building and were met by protesters who used slingshots to launch projectiles at them, including large rocks and bottles, police said.
Protesters also threw lit fireworks into the broken glass doors of an adjacent federal courthouse, police said.
The police news release also spoke of rioters using mortars. I have no idea what they meant by this:
Because of this immediate life safety issue, officers once again began to disperse the crowd. As they dispersed the crowd, demonstrators continued to throw rocks, cans, and commercial grade fireworks and mortars towards officers. Because of the violent nature of the demonstrators while officers cleared the area, crowd control munitions were used and several arrests were made. As officers began to disengage the crowd at Southwest Main Street and Southwest Broadway Avenue, commercial grade fireworks were once again thrown at officers.
But whatever a mortar is, Portland police released an image of a mortar exploding inside the courthouse after the front door was broken open: