Washington DC saw violent protests in the weeks following police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota back in May, and the chaos seemed to re-erupt on Thursday, the final night of the Republican National convention, when six officers were hospitalized in demonstrations across the city, Daily Mail reported.
The unrest has continued throughout the remainder of the week, with a group of heavily armored officers seen moving in on a hundred-strong crowd of protesters gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza shortly before midnight.
Meanwhile demonstrators also took to the streets of Portland, which has seen near-continuous marches since the death of George Floyd on May 25, where they also clashed with police late on Sunday night.
Marchers had gathered close to the Penumbra Kelly Building, which houses the city’s crime prevention unit and has been repeatedly targeted, before the gathering was declared illegal.
Police used loudspeakers to warn the crowd to disperse as projectiles were thrown at them, before repeatedly charging the crowd with a number of people arrested, according to KATU.
Cars that had been used to block the street for a short time were also towed away.
The protests come after Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, a member of the pro-Trump Patriot Prayer organization, was shot dead during protests in the city.
Police are thought to be investigating 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl – who described himself on Instagram as “100% ANTIFA” – in relation to the shooting.
Reinoehl is a former member of the military who is now a professional snowboarder and has been a frequent attendee of protests in Portland, according to The Oregonian.
He was previously accused of carrying a loaded gun to another demonstration, the paper reports.
In Washington, officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd, some of whom were wielding homemade shields.
The unruly scenes come just 24 hours after five protesters were arrested at the plaza on Saturday night. Two of those detained were charged with assaulting a police officer.
On Sunday, officers were seen tackling fleeing demonstrators and swinging their bikes at people as they appeared to take several protesters into custody and force others away from the plaza.
Several protesters were observed being slammed against parked vehicles by police, with others being pinned down against the sidewalk, the Washington Post reported.
It was not immediately clear if any protesters or police officers were injured in the scramble.
Around 20 minutes prior, small groups of protesters were seen arguing among themselves about tossing projectiles such as water bottles towards police.
Witness Dominque Haralson, 31, told the Post she saw at least five people being taken into police custody.
Haralson questioned the level of force launched against the protesters, who she said were largely peaceful, adding that police seemed to indiscriminately target anyone on Black Lives Matter Plaza.
“They create their own narrative. Everybody is a suspect,” she told the outlet, adding, “During the day, Black Lives Matter Plaza is a photo op and at night, it’s a war zone.”
The confrontation erupted around two hours after protesters first gathered at the plaza at around 10pm, before marching down nearby streets.
As they walked, protesters were recorded urging others to join them, chanting “Out of your homes and into the streets” and “If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no sleep”.
Some of the crowd shined torches through resident’s windows, others set off firecrackers in the streets and spray-painted sidewalks. They crowd to Black Lives Matter Plaza at 11:30pm.
Protesters have gathered in the District for more than three months since the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 28. The renewed unrest has been sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, who was shot seven times in the back by police in Wisconsin during a domestic dispute call last weekend.
This is the second night in a row police have clashed with protesters at Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Five people were arrested overnight Saturday after clashes with law enforcement, according to police. Two of those arrested were charged with assault on a police officer.
Some members of the groups were “intent on damaging property and injuring Metropolitan Police Department officers,” the department said in a statement.
“These individuals ignited fireworks, intentionally set fires, as well as threw projectiles — including glass, bricks and smoke grenades, at officers in the area. Additionally, lasers were used to visually impair officers,” the department said.
One suspect is accused of intentionally rolling over an officer’s foot with a motorized scooter. Another person allegedly shot fireworks in officers’ direction.
In a tweet early Sunday, President Donald Trump said Mayor Muriel Bowser “should arrest these agitators and thugs.”
“Clean up D.C. or the Federal Government will do it for you. Enough!!!” he wrote.
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