UPDATED 2:35 PM PT – Friday, January 1, 2021
Portland police declared a riot after a reportedly peaceful protest turned violent. Thursday night, demonstrators threw a barrage of commercial grade fireworks and firebombs at the Portland Federal Courthouse.
The demonstration turned into a demolition when the crowd of roughly 100 people reportedly began smashing local business windows, throwing Molotov cocktails and spray painting graffiti.
Police dispensed pepper spray and rubber bullets were reportedly heard being fired to quell the uproar.
A gathering in downtown Portland has devolved into a riot. Participants have thrown multiple firebombs at officers and launched commercial grade fireworks at the Federal Courthouse and Justice Center.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) January 1, 2021
“Much less than the October incident when of course many of our windows were broken, a flare was thrown into the pavilion. This was still vandalism but much less than the last incident,” Executive Director of the Oregon Historical Society Kerry Tymchuk said.
The Portland Police Bureau said officers across the city were wrested from responding to emergency calls to assist with the riot.