WATCH | Portland mayor teargassed at protest against federal crackdown

  • Portland mayor Ted Wheeler was teargassed as he met with demonstrators.
  • He labelled the incident as "urban warfare".
  • The protests in the city are to denounce police brutality against black Americans.


The mayor of Portland was teargassed on Wednesday night as he met with demonstrators protesting against police brutality and the deployment of federal troops into US cities ordered by President Donald Trump.

PICS | Federal crackdown in Portland re-energises protesters

AFP footage showed Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler wearing goggles and a facemask and being led away from a crowd as clouds of gas and fireworks exploded nearby.

"I'm not going to lie - it stings; it's hard to breathe," Wheeler told The New York Times. "And I can tell you with 100% honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response."

"This is an egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers," Wheeler told the Times. "This is flat-out urban warfare."

Thousands of protestors took to the streets on Wednesday night, according to NBC affiliate KGW8, in the latest round of protests that were initially sparked by the killing in May of African-American George Floyd.

Unpopular

The city's police department said protestors had thrown flares and incendiary devices into the federal courthouse, causing small fires in the compound.

It later declared a state of riot in the area outside the Justice Centre and ordered protesters to disperse immediately.

Wheeler is unpopular with many protesters in Portland because city police themselves had in the past used teargas to put down demonstrations, until a judge limited use of the tactic.

As he walked through the crowd on Wednesday night, people called for his resignation and chanted "Tear gas Teddy", the Times said.

"A lot of these people hate my guts," Wheeler told the paper.

Earlier protests in Portland - and much of the United States - to denounce racism and police brutality following the death of Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, began losing steam at the start of July.

But then reports emerged of camouflaged federal officers snatching Portland protestors and taking them away in unmarked vehicles.

Now the demonstrations have ramped up, with thousands showing up daily to face off against police well into the night.

Wheeler has previously called for the withdrawal of federal officers from the north-western US city, accusing them of dangerously escalating the situation with abusive and unconstitutional tactics against protestors.

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