PORTLAND, Ore. (Dispatches) — Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Portland Saturday night and early Sunday morning, marking the third consecutive night of rallies that ended in a relatively peaceful manner as federal agents pulled back and made their presence less visible.
Earlier in the evening, the Portland Police Bureau announced an unlawful assembly in the 4700 block of East Burnside Street, alleging that some protesters had thrown glass bottles at officers and directed lasers at them.
Video shared by a journalist showed officers dispersing the crowd and pushing them back as they chanted "why are you in riot gear, I don’t see no riot here?”
One journalist at the scene did say he saw someone being treated for pepper spray. In a news release distributed early Sunday morning, Portland Police denied the use of CS gas.
Another reporter tweeted video of officers rushing the crowd. Police said two people were arrested following this incident.
Portland has seen more than two months of angry demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In early July, President Donald Trump sent more federal agents to the city, but local officials said their presence made things worse.
All seven Democrats on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee wrote to the Department of Homeland Security requesting details on its agents conducting intelligence monitoring of the ongoing anti-racism protests in Portland.
In a related move, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf ordered the agency to stop collecting information on American journalists covering the protests, after the Washington Post reported that the department’s Intelligence & Analysis unit had done so.
The Senate committee Democrats in a letter to Brian Murphy, acting DHS undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, said they have "grown increasingly concerned” over the department’s intelligence operations monitoring protesters.
The senators asked Murphy to confirm the accuracy of a July 9 document related to "Portland Surge Operations” that says personnel may collect intelligence from "incarcerated, detained, or arrested persons so long as the collection is conducted overtly.”
The senators also asked Murphy whether DHS intelligence personnel have indirectly taken part in gathering intelligence on protesters.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free speech and public assembly.
The senators asked Murphy to explain how the department’s intelligence operations are "able to differentiate between peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights and those individuals who have planned or conducted acts of violence.”