(Reuters) – Police declared a riot at an anti-racism protest in the U.S. city of Portland late on Tuesday and ordered demonstrators to leave, saying people vandalized an office building and threw in “burning material”.
Largely peaceful protests have been held across the United States in recent weeks after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in Minneapolis police custody.
Protests in cities, including Portland, have at times erupted into arson and violence, and federal officers sent into the Northwestern city have repeatedly clashed with crowds targeting the federal courthouse there.
“Portland Police has declared the gathering near the Multnomah Building a riot after individuals vandalized, repeatedly smashed first floor windows with rocks and threw burning material into an office”, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter.
Police said that failure to comply with its order to disperse could lead to arrests and use of tear gas, crowd control munitions and impact weapons.
The Multnomah Building houses county government operations.
Footage bit.ly/34c7Z5L in the local press showed rocks thrown at the building, a broken window and flaming debris.
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury released a statement at midnight, saying a small group of protesters had set fire to the “Office of Community Involvement.”
Media reported that fire in the building was put out by the police.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries or deaths, but the Oregonian newspaper reported that there were two arrests.
A crowd of about 200 gathered in the city’s Colonel Summers Park late on Tuesday before marching through Southeast Portland streets, eventually arriving at the Multnomah Building, the Oregonian reported.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie
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