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Federal officers use gas to clear protesters in Portland, hours after federal official called them 'violent anarchists'

Federal officers use gas to clear protesters in Portland, hours after federal official called them 'violent anarchists'
Posted at 7:38 AM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 07:40:57-04

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal officers deployed tear gas and fired less-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters in Oregon late Thursday.

Video shows many protesters leaving the area near the federal courthouse in Portland as smoke filled the air.

The actions came just hours after the head of the Department of Homeland Security called the protesters “violent anarchists.

Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says state and city authorities are to blame for not putting an end to the protests.

Protests have taken place for nearly two months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

President Donald Trump recently deployed federal agents to “quell” the demonstrations in Portland that began after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, shining an unwelcome spotlight as the city struggles to find a way forward.

The national attention comes as divisions deepen among elected officials about the legitimacy of the more violent protests — striking at the heart of Portland’s identity as an ultraliberal haven where protest is seen as a badge of honor.

Local officials say they didn't ask for help from federal law enforcement and want them to leave.