Federal officers were forced to disperse a crowd of rioters in Bend, Oregon, on Wednesday night after protesters surrounded Immigration and Customs Enforcement vehicles in an attempt to block them from detaining two illegal immigrants.
This is how the blockade of the ICE deportation started in Bend, OR. It just takes one person. pic.twitter.com/57aNcqlLoa
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) August 13, 2020
Nearly 300 protesters surrounded the vehicles on Wednesday afternoon and remained there until nightfall, according to the Bend Bulletin.
The protesters refused to leave the area despite multiple requests from ICE agents and federal officers.
The crowd then began to turn violent, according to officials, so federal officers acted quickly to disperse the crowd and escort the illegal immigrants off of the bus and onto another vehicle.
The illegal immigrants arrested by ICE in Bend had “a history of violent criminal behavior,” according to Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary for Homeland Security.
ICE has not confirmed the identities of the two illegal immigrants, but locals said their names were Josué Arturo Cruz Sanchez and Marco Zeferino.
“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.
He criticized the protesters for trying to prevent ICE from carrying out its mission, which is “to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street.”
Protesters accused federal officers of using unnecessary force against them, but the Bend Police Department said in a statement that federal agents left the area as soon as ICE’s bus had been secured.
“The attendees of the First Amendment event appear to have dispersed peacefully,” police said.