(Headline USA) Federal officers will remain in Portland until attacks on the U.S. courthouse cease, a top official said Monday after a night of violence.
And more officers may soon be on the way.
“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel. We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams told a telephonic news conference.
Local and state officials said the federal officers are unwelcome.
The mayor of Portland and five other cities appealed Monday to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy federal agents to cities that don’t want them.
“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City Albuquerque and Washington D.C. wrote to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate.
The mayors want Congress to require consultation with and consent from local authorities before federal deployments; require visible identification at all times on federal agents and vehicles unless on an undercover mission authorized by the local U.S. attorney; and limit federal agents’ activities to protecting federal property.
The city has had nightly protests for two months since May.
President Donald Trump said he sent federal agents to Portland to halt the unrest but state and local officials said they are making the situation worse.
Trump’s deployment of the federal officers over the July 4 weekend fanned the flames of the Black Lives Matter terrorists.
The number of protesters had dwindled to perhaps less than 100 right before the deployment, and now has swelled to the thousands.
Early Monday, U.S. agents repeatedly fired tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at rioters outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. Some rioters had climbed over the fence surrounding the courthouse, while others shot fireworks, banged on the fence and projected lights on the building.
Trump said Monday on Twitter that the federal properties in Portland “wouldn’t last a day” without the presence of the federal agents.
The majority of those participating in the daily demonstrations have been peaceful. But a few protesters have been pelting officers with objects and trying to tear down fencing protecting the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse.
At a press conference with two other federal officials, Williams, whose office is inside the courthouse, called on peaceful protesters, community and business leaders and people of faith to not allow violence to occur in their presence and leave downtown before violence starts. He said federal agents have made 83 arrests.
Terrorists set fire to an Oakland, California, courthouse; vehicles were set ablaze in Richmond, Virginia; an armed terrorist was shot and killed in Austin, Texas; and two people were shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through a riot.
The U.S. Marshals Service has lined up about 100 people they could send, either to strengthen the forces there or relieve officers who have been working for weeks, agency spokesperson Drew Wade said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.