Protesters in Portland, Oregon tore down statues of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and broke windows late Sunday when organizers called “Native American Anger Day,” local NBC subsidiary KGW reported.
Monday is Columbus Day, which some cities and states have renamed Indigenous Peoples Day.
Earlier that evening, police tweeted that a rally had formed and that some protesters were trying to “tear down a statue with a chain”.
An hour later, police declared the protest a riot, ordered protesters to disperse, and said those who chose to stay would be “exposed to arrest, citation or mass control agents, including but not limited to on tear gas and impact weapons “.
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Photos taken after the protest showed the Lincoln statue resting on its head with spray paint on the pedestal while the Roosevelt statue resting on its side with orange spray paint on the pedestal. In addition to overturning the statues, the glass front and doors of the Oregon Historical Society were smashed.
In the announcement of the protest on Saturday, the organizers of Generational Resistance called on social media an “end of colonialism” and the abolition of the police in a post in which they also asked not to take photos or videos.
They also warned tribal peoples who wanted to bring “drums, medicine or regalia” that “bringing things that are sacred to you may not be the best event”.
It was not immediately clear whether the statues of demonstrators who participated in the Generational Resistance March had been defaced.
Portland has become a focal point for sometimes violent political conflict. The city saw months of nightly protests after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis. Some protesters lit fires and fought the police. There were weeks of intense protests in the city in July after US Homeland Security agents were sent to guard a federal court.
President Donald Trump, who has often criticized the Portland protests, posted a series of tweets on Monday about the Sunday night demonstration, seemingly retweeted pictures of the damage and offering to post federal law enforcement agencies.
In August, he praised a pro-Trump caravan of activists whose presence appeared to contribute to violent clashes in the city.
Kurt Chirbas and Caroline Radnofsky contributed.