U.S., Oregon agree to withdraw agents in Portland

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 30, 2020 - Duration: 02:03s

U.S., Oregon agree to withdraw agents in Portland

Oregon's governor on Wednesday said federal tactical police had agreed to withdraw from Portland, though U.S. officials said agents would stay until conditions improved after weeks of clashes with protesters.

Gloria Tso reports.

U.S., Oregon agree to withdraw agents in Portland

Oregon's governor said Wednesday (July 29) federal troops had agreed to withdraw from the city of Portland.

Protesters and police have faced off there in often violent confrontations for the past several weeks.

But U.S. officials said federal agents would stay until conditions in the city improve.

The agents were sent into Portland to protect a federal courthouse amid anti-racism demonstrations.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Vice President Mike Pence agreed to a "phased" end to the deployment of federal troops.

Wider use of federal police in several U.S. cities has sparked a standoff between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic mayors across the country.

Brown wrote on Twitter that in Portland quote "they have acted as an occupying force & brought violence." Agents in minivans have been accused of snatching activists off the street during the federal presence in the city, and one protester was nearly killed by a rubber bullet.

Brown said in a statement that federal agents will start to leave downtown Portland on Thursday as part of the plan.

But the head of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said agents would stay near the courthouse until they were sure the plan was working.

On a call with reporters Wolf declined to provide a timeline for the withdrawl of troops, saying they would remain in Portland on standby in case Oregon State Police were overwhelmed.

The news comes after suburban mothers, veterans and healthcare workers joined the Portland demonstrations to oppose federal intervention.

The arrival of these so-called white allies changed the optics of Black Lives Matter protests, previously seen as dominated by activists facing off with police.

Trump, who is up for reelection this year, has boasted of his law and order stance by cracking down on nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of a Black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The federal government presence in Portland has drawn criticism from Democrats and civil liberties groups who alleged excessive force and federal overreach by the president.

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