Portland police prepare for departure of controversial federal agents

(Portland) Portland Police on Thursday began evacuating the area surrounding a city court to prepare for the withdrawal of federal agents dispatched by Donald Trump's administration, whose presence is controversial.

France Media Agency

Portland Police officers have asked all residents to leave downtown parks and streets, lining federal court, under threat of arrest, before cordoning the perimeter, a reporter found from AFP.

Only about fifty demonstrators were present at midday, unlike the several thousand who have marched every night since the arrival in Portland of federal police.

“We will not let the police stop us”, shouted these demonstrators in particular.

“We want change, we want things to move,” Emily, 35 year-old artist told AFP, ensuring that the withdrawal of federal agents decried would not diminish the determination of those who have been demonstrating for weeks against racial discrimination and police brutality.

“They're just replacing the feds with the police,” said Emily, who is expecting the same clashes with law enforcement as on previous nights.

Portland Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said the evacuation of the courthouse area was part of the deal announced the day before between local officials and the government for the removal of federal agents.

The death of black forty-something George Floyd suffocated on 25 May in Minneapolis by a white police officer, sparked huge anti-racist protests across the United States . Mobilization weakened considerably, but pockets of protest persisted, especially in Portland, which was clearly marked on the left.

The deployment by the government of federal agents, sometimes from customs or border police and wearing a whole military panoply, had the effect of hardening the movement in this city with a long history of protest.

‚ÄúToday, Federal troops are preparing to leave central Portland. We will protect free expression and the right to protest peacefully, “Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown said on Twitter, accusing President Donald Trump of mounting a” political “blow by sending them.

The agreement provides that the local police will ensure the maintenance of order outside the court, at the expense of a few federal agents whose usual task is to secure the buildings themselves.