The Slatest

Dozens Arrested in Seattle as Protests Erupt Across Country Energized by Portland Clashes

A demonstrator kneels in front of police who are standing with bikes.
A demonstrator kneels in front of police during protests on Saturday in Seattle. David Ryder/Getty Images

Thousands of people took to the streets across the country Saturday night as demonstrations that had largely died down were suddenly reenergized by weeks of violent clashes between activists and federal agents in Portland, Oregon. One of the largest and most intense protests took place in Seattle, where thousands took to the streets in what was the biggest anti–police brutality protest in weeks. The demonstrations against police violence were declared a riot by police, and officers deployed flash-bangs and pepper spray to clear the area. At least 45 people were arrested, and “21 officers sustained injuries after being struck by bricks, rocks mortars/other explosives,” according to Seattle police. Cops rushed into crowds, knocking people to the ground, including in at least one case those who stopped to help a woman injured by a flash grenade.

Authorities also declared a riot in Portland early Sunday in a now-familiar scene as thousands of protesters gathered for the 59th night of protests. Rallygoers breached the reinforced fence around the city’s federal courthouse building. Multiple people were arrested, but the number isn’t quite clear. Saturday night’s demonstration “followed what has become a typical pattern,” notes the Oregonian, “with the early evening peaceful, then a tense standoff at the fence around the federal courthouse, and finally provocation by protesters tampering with the fence and throwing fireworks, and federal agents responding with tear gas.”

Cops in riot gear stand near a building.
Federal police clash with protesters in front of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In Austin, Texas a man was shot and killed at a protest downtown. The victim was reportedly carrying a weapon when he approached a vehicle and the person in the car shot the man. It seems the driver drove through the crowd and there were people around the car when the shooting took place. The shooter was taken into custody. “Someone dying while protesting is horrible,” Mayor Steve Adler of Austin said in a statement. “Our city is shaken and, like so many in our community, I’m heartbroken and stunned.” The victim’s mother said that her son was pushing his fiancee’s wheelchair shortly before the shooting. “And this gentleman got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times,” she said.

There was also some violence reported in Los Angeles as protesters faced off with officers in front of the federal courthouse downtown. There were a few arrests but the numbers are not clear, with police insisting that most of the demonstrators were peaceful although there were a few isolated incidents of vandalism that included broken windows. “It’s not the whole group that’s doing it,” Sgt. Anthony Costello said. “It’s isolated individuals.” Protesters said the situation in Portland, where demonstrators have taken to the streets for almost two months, had motivated them to come out again. “Portland is leading,” a Los Angeles protester said. “They’re showing what it looks like to stay in the streets despite police oppression, despite the federal forces being sent in. This kind of energy is actually what’s needed.”

Cops with helmets and batons drag a man from courthouse steps, where other cops are arranged.
Police officers push a protester out of a courthouse during a protest in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. Apu Gomes/Getty Images

There were also protests in Omaha, Nebraska, where protesters not only took to the streets in solidarity with Portland but also to bring attention to the killing of James Scurlock, a Black man who was killed by a white bar owner in May. Police arrested at least 75 people. Cops also deployed tear gas in Richmond, Virginia, where hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday night. There were also protests in New York City; Oakland, California; and Aurora, Colorado, among others.

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