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Portland fires, vandalism, looting as protest turns into riot; at least 13 arrests

POrtland protest riot KGW 530
Protest turned into right late Friday night, May 29 in downtown Portland

(Update: At least 13 arrests; 2 Portland police injuries; state of emergency, curfew)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A march through the streets of Portland in protest of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody, turned into a fiery, violent downtown riot late Friday night, with damage and looters at several locations.

KGW reported the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland was set on fire. That fire was put out. At least one other fire was started in the area of Southwest 4th Avenue and Main Street. There were scenes of Dumpster fires, vandalism and widespread looting at Pioneer Place mall.

Portland police declared the demonstration a riot and ordered demonstrators to leave the downtown area. In addition to the fires, there was vandalism and a shooting connected to the protest, according to Portland police. No additional details about the shooting have been released.

By 5 a.m. Saturday, 13 people had been arrested on theft, riot, burglary and/or trespass charges.

"During the riot, a police officer was struck by a thrown incendiary device and was injured," the Portland Police Bureau reported. "A PPB criminalist was struck in the head with a rock and sustained injury as well."

Mayor Ted Wheeler has declared a state of emergency for Portland after riots damaged numerous businesses and public buildings.

The mayor also enacted a curfew that begins Saturday night at 8 p.m. and continues until 6 a.m. Sunday morning. The curfew means all travel is prohibited on public streets or in public places in Portland during those hours.

Early Saturday, rioters broke into a downtown Chase Bank and set fires, KGW's livestream showed. Police soon showed up and fired tear gas, prompting the crowd to disperse, some moving on to a nearby Wells Fargo Bank across Pioneer Courthouse Square, where fireworks appeared to be set off in another attack.

Police said earlier they deployed gas after people threw projectiles at them. Firefighters were responding to the fires, police said. Damage also was reported to a Nike store in northeast Portland.

Wheeler pleaded with demonstrators to end the destruction.

"This is violence, this is vandalism, this is rioting, this is looting," Wheeler told KGW. "This is not what Portland's about. I am demanding that they go home."

Earlier, thousands of people filled Peninsula Park in North Portland for a peaceful evening vigil that lasted three hours, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Hundreds then began marching through downtown to Portland police headquarters outside the Multnomah County Justice Center. There was scattered vandalism along the route.

Wheeler tweeted a plea to protesters to remain peaceful and said at about 11:50 p.m. that while he had left Portland to attend to his dying mother, he was heading back to the city.

“I am with family to prepare for her final moments. This is hard, this is personal, but so is watching my city get destroyed. I’m coming back NOW,” he said, adding that police and community leaders would be hearing from him.

“Portland, this is not us,” he wrote earlier on Twitter. “When you destroy our city, you are destroying our community. When you act in violence against each other, you are hurting all of us. How does this honor the legacy of George Floyd?”

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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