The arrests came after some people in the crowd threw “several fire bombs” at officers, one of whom was a parishioner on fire, said the police. Officials located the injured person, who was treated by Portland Fire and Rescue and then taken to a hospital in a private vehicle, police said.
The night’s events began when crowds gathered in Ventura Park and marched towards the East Portland Community Policing Center around 9 p.m. local time, Portland police said. Police said many people in the crowd wore black clothes, wore large shields and wore protective clothing including helmets, gas masks and body armor.
“It was clear that the crowd’s intention was not a peaceful protest,”
The demonstrations on Saturday evening did not involve gun violence. However, the police said the use of fire bombs posed an “extreme threat to life safety”. They declared a riot and ordered people to leave the area.
Portland police said people in the crowd began throwing fireworks and mortars at officers while others were seen throwing stones. One person had a kind of “wrist rocket” slinging rocket, police said.
A sergeant was directly hit by commercial fireworks that burned his glove and injured his hand, police said. According to the police, several officers and soldiers were hit by stones in the head, arms, shoulders and feet. Officers used tear gas and other ammunition to control the crowd while making targeted arrests, police said.
Some people in the crowd saw dumpsters, trash cans and wooden pallets on fire in the streets.
According to the police, more than 50 people were arrested. At least two of those arrested wore body armor, one person had a dagger and another person had a knife, police said.