AFP Published: 2020-08-01 14:08:39
US federal officers will stay in the protest-wracked city of Portland until local law enforcement officials finish a “cleanup of anarchists and agitators,” President Donald Trump said.
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on the coronavirus outbreak and storm preparedness at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla., Friday, July 31, 2020. [Photo: AP]
The president tweeted late Friday: “Homeland Security is not leaving Portland until local police complete cleanup of Anarchists and Agitators!”
Federal agents had begun a staged withdrawal from the city in the state of Oregon that has been rocked by anti-racism demonstrations.
Portland police cleared parks and nearby roads around the city center on Friday in anticipation of the phased pullout by federal forces.
City mayor Ted Wheeler said the deployment was part of the agreement for federal officers to leave.
But the timing was also questioned this week by acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who warned a full pullout depended on the security situation “significantly” improving.
Hundreds were still on the streets of downtown Portland on Sunday morning, without any federal law enforcement in sight.
Trump’s administration earlier this month sent federal tactical teams, many wearing combat-like gear, to intervene in the city after weeks of protests against racism and police brutality saw windows broken and graffiti scrawled on the federal courthouse and other buildings.
But their deployment inflamed the situation, especially following footage of protesters being snatched off the street by federal agents and put into unmarked cars.