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Portland mayor teargassed at protest against federal crackdown

23 July 2020, MVT 16:27
(FILES) In this file photo protestors run as tear gas is deployed on the steps of the US District Court building on July 17, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. - The mayor of Portland demanded the withdrawal of federal officers from the northwestern US city, accusing them of dangerously escalating the situation with abusive, unconstitutional tactics against protesters. The accusations followed another night of protests in the Oregon city that saw a police association building set aflame.Mayor Ted Wheeler said federal officers sent to the city had escalated a long-running standoff between protesters and police with tactics that included scooping people off the streets into unmarked vans without identifying themselves."What's happening here is we have dozens, if not hundreds, of federal troops descending upon our city. What they're doing is they are sharply escalating the situation," Wheeler said on CNN's "State of the Union." on July 19, 2020. (Photo by Mason TRINCA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
23 July 2020, MVT 16:27

The mayor of Portland was teargassed Wednesday as he met with demonstrators protesting against police brutality and the deployment of federal troops into US cities ordered by President Donald Trump.

AFP footage showed Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler wearing goggles and a facemask and being led away from a crowd amid clouds of gas and fireworks exploding nearby.

"This is an egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers," Wheeler told the New York Times.

"This is flat-out urban warfare."

Thousands of protestors took to the streets Wednesday night, according to NBC affiliate KGW8, in the latest round of protests that were initially sparked by the killing in May of African-American George Floyd.

The city's police department said protestors had thrown flares and incendiary devices into the federal courthouse, causing small fires in the compound.

It later declared a state of riot in the area outside the Justice Center and ordered protesters to disperse immediately.

Earlier protests in Portland -- and much of the United States -- to denounce racism and police brutality following the death of Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, began losing steam at the start of July.

But then reports emerged of camouflaged federal officers snatching Portland protestors in unmarked vehicles.

Now the demonstrations have ramped up, with thousands showing up daily to face off against police well into the night.

Wheeler has previously called for the withdrawal of federal officers from the northwestern US city, accusing them of dangerously escalating the situation with abusive and unconstitutional tactics against protestors.

Portland, United States | AFP