A Portland, Ore., demonstration against President-elect Donald Trump included a group of people who engaged in “criminal and dangerous behavior,” authorities say, leading police to declare the Thursday night gathering a riot.
Some protesters smashed windows, lit a dumpster on fire, threw objects at police and lit firecrackers, according to The Associated Press.
Police say they responded with non-lethal munitions fired into the crowd, and that 26 people were arrested. The AP has more from the scene:
“Officers began physically pushing back against the crowd that at times threw objects at them as midnight approached, arresting several people and using flash-bang devices and types of smoke or tear gas to force people to disperse.
“After several orders to leave, police said officers used “less lethal munitions,” such as pepper spray and rubber projectiles. Live video footage showed officers firing what appeared to be the non-lethal items. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was hit.”
Property damage was “widespread,” according to The Portland Mercury.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the evening’s protests were largely peaceful at first, with thousands of marchers blocking roads and chanting. As the march continued, there were occasional confrontations with bystanders, including one smashed windshield and a few incidents of graffiti.
“Later in the evening, what appeared to be a small subgroup of self-described anarchists began to damage cars at a Toyota dealership and ignite fireworks, before moving through the Pearl District and damaging several businesses,” OPB writes.
Portland Police also attributed the destructive behavior to a subset of the protesters, tweeting at one point, “Many in crowd trying to get anarchist groups to stop destroying property, anarchists refusing.” The would-be peacekeepers were met with threats not to interfere, police said.
“Those not wanting to be associated with anarchists should leave the area immediately,” the police later tweeted, directing peaceful protesters to another area of the city.
OPB reports that several activists groups are working together as “Portland’s Resistance.” One activist said in a press release the group was looking to “survive President Trump” with the hope that Portland would “become a beacon of light for the rest of the nation.”
Friday morning, the group said on Facebook that “the violent actions that occurred last night had absolutely nothing to do with our group” and invited supporters to donate to help repay businesses damaged during the protests.
It was the third-straight night of protests in Portland. Protests also continued across the country, including in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Oakland, Calif.
President-elect Trump tweeted twice about the protests — first, on Thursday night, accusing the protesters of being paid off and blaming the rallies on the media. Trump, who had frequently spoken of the voting system being “rigged” during his campaign, called the election “open and successful” and the protests “very unfair.”
On Friday morning, the president-elect took a different tack, saying he loved the “passion” of protesters.