Protesters pelt Portland police with rocks and concrete on 72nd night of violent clashes

Police in Portland said on Friday night that they were attacked with rocks and chunks of concrete, after the 72nd-straight night of protest descended in to violence once again.

Officers said that some of the protesters were attempting to blind officers by shining lights in to their eyes.

Amidst the chaos, the police tweeted their apologies to the local residents for the disruption and noise, with officers using a sound truck to blast warning to protesters to leave the scene, which they declared an unlawful assembly at 9.45pm. 

‘Officers are having rocks and chunks of concrete thrown at them,’ the police tweeted.  

‘Individuals in the crowd are shining lasers trying to blind officers. 

‘The sound truck is issuing warnings and directions to those participating in the unlawful assembly to disperse.

‘We apologize to the neighbors who are disturbed by the loudspeaker on the sound truck. We know it’s late. 

‘We have to keep our distance to avoid the items being used as weapons against us.’

The unrest came hours after Donald Trump told supporters at a New Jersey fundraiser that the city of Portland had been taken over by a ‘mob’ of ‘anarchists’.

Trump said that Democrats would allow all U.S. cities follow Portland’s example, if Joe Biden wins the election in November.

On Friday evening, more than 100 protesters collected by 8.30pm at Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, according to Oregon Live

A flyer on social media promoting the event told people to wear black and many were dressed in black from head to toe.

People handed out handmade plywood shields in preparation for a potential clash with police. 

A group of about a dozen protesters practiced formations with shields, the site reported, and one protester led the group and helped them place their shields into an effective wall.

The march set out around 9.20pm, and after about 25 minutes arrived at the Penumbra Kelly Building, shared by city and county law enforcement – scene of frequent clashes between the protesters and police.

Protesters in Portland were taught on Friday evening to use their plywood shields in formation

Protesters in Portland were taught on Friday evening to use their plywood shields in formation

Protest leaders instructed those carrying shields on how to behave and position themselves

Protest leaders instructed those carrying shields on how to behave and position themselves

The group, in Laurelhurst Park, lined up to claim their 'armor' for Friday night's protest

The group, in Laurelhurst Park, lined up to claim their ‘armor’ for Friday night’s protest

As night fell the group set out for the Penumbra Kelly Building in Portland - scene of clashes

As night fell the group set out for the Penumbra Kelly Building in Portland – scene of clashes

The police’s calls for the protesters to disperse were met with boos.

The face off continued past 10.45pm – one hour after police labeled the gathering unlawful. 

Around 10.50pm, one person walked beyond the protester line and approached the building. Police quickly detained the person.  

This week’s clashes have ratcheted up tensions after an agreement last week between state and federal officials seemed to offer a brief reprieve. 

The deal brokered by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown called for agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pull back from their defense of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse starting July 30. 

But after a brief weekend reprieve, protest activity has continued nightly in other parts of the city, with Portland police, local sheriff’s deputies and, in some cases, Oregon State Police troopers on the frontlines as demonstrators demand an end to police funding. 

Protests have gone on unabated in Portland since May 25 following the death of Floyd who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him by the neck for more than nine minutes. 

In Portland, the civil disobedience prompted Trump to send federal agents to guard the federal courthouse, which was increasingly targeted in demonstrations that often turned violent.

It was a move intended to quell the unrest but the presence of federal agents instead reinvigorated demonstrators and created a focal point for the protests each night amid concerns that Trump was overstepping the limits of federal police powers.