Portland Police riot Monday after reportedly hundreds of protesters marched on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment in a condominium tower to demand his resignation.
The crowd of around 200 were there to mockingly celebrate the mayor’s birthday before the demonstration quickly turned devastating and a “fire” was reported, police said.
Protesters lit a fire in the street as some danced to the “macarena,” according to Allison Mechanic, a reporter for KATU News who posted the video on Twitter. Others set a picnic table from a nearby shop over the fire to feed the fire.
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Protesters smashed windows and broke into a dentist’s office. They took items – including a chair – to add to the fire, the Oregonian reported. A bundle of newspapers was also set on fire and thrown into a shop window on the first floor of the apartment building at around 11 p.m. The police declared the gathering a riot.
“This was the arson fire that led to a declaration of insurrection tonight,” police wrote on Twitter. “It was important to secure the area so that firefighters can respond to this dangerous situation.”
Mike Baker, a New York Times correspondent, tweeted that some protesters were angry about the protesters’ actions on Monday because it “endangers the people in the building and the minority businesses in the complex.”
Earlier that night protesters were videotaped singing an altered version of “Happy Birthday” to Wheeler, who turned 58 on August 31.
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Some of the demonstrators sang: “Happy tear gas for [inaudible] Wheeler, happy tear gas for you, “said Corry Young, a KATU News photographer who posted the footage on Twitter.
Wheeler has been targeted by some protesters in Portland who say he was too tenacious with the use of city police. Protesters have made demands, including cuts to the police budget and his resignation. On Friday there was a sit-in protest in the lobby of his apartment.
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Portland has been hit by night protests for three months since police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. The often violent demonstrations usually target police and federal buildings. Some protesters have called for cuts in police budgets, while the city’s mayor and some in the black community have deemed the violence counterproductive.
Edmund DeMarche of Fox News contributed to this report