Protestors wearing “press” insignias threw bottles at police Saturday night as the demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, intensified after several days of relative calm, police said.
State and city officials had insisted the reason for the violence was the presence of federal law enforcement protecting a courthouse downtown. Under a deal between the governor and the feds, those officers pulled back their presence on Thursday.
The first two nights following that move were relatively quiet as the protesters polices themselves, squelching fires started by rogue demonstrators and pulling others down from climbing the fence protecting the courthouse.
But Saturday night saw a new round of clashes – this time in a part of the city away from the courthouse. After a paint-filled bottle was thrown, striking a city police officer, police declared the gathering unlawful and that sparked a new round of clashes.
“People with ‘press’ written on their outer garments repeatedly threw objects at officers,” Portland Police said.
They also reported having to slash the tires of a car being used to block them from dispersing the crowd. Activists on Twitter complained the car belonged to a journalist and it was an attack on press freedom.
A second round of clashes also saw “people with ‘press’ written on their outer garments” again throwing things at police, authorities said.
Two people were arrested for interfering with police.
Back downtown, near the courthouse, city police reported no arrests.
A federal judge last week said he wad disturbed by people using press passes to shield themselves from consequences for rioting. He had issued a restraining order against police using tactics on the press.
He said he is pondering asking the ACLU to effectively license reporters so only legitimate ones are involved in covering protests and protected by his order.