Portland police said demonstrators were setting off numerous fireworks and "aerial mortars" at officers.
PORTLAND, Ore. After hours of protesting outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland, police declared a gathering of thousands of demonstrators a civil disturbance and an unlawful assembly. People are now being told to leave the area or be subject to police force.
Police have used flash bangs and tear gas to disperse protesters. KGW reporters say the crowd is smaller than it was outside the justice center, but there are several smaller groups in downtown.
At around 11:30 p.m., Portland police said demonstrators were setting off numerous fireworks and "aerial mortars" at officers. At least two people have been arrested.
There are reports of shattered windows in the downtown area.
The large group of demonstrators reached the justice center at around 9:30 p.m. after peacefully marching miles from the eastside of Portland.
The large crowd initially gathered at Laurelhurst Park at 6 p.m. and at first marched to a former police precinct building on Southeast 47th Avenue and Burnside. The group then marched several miles westbound, crossed the Burnside Bridge and entered downtown Portland.
As the crowd marched to downtown, police announced over loud speakers that they would protect the demonstrators' First Amendment rights if they remained peaceful.
"The actions of this group will set the tone for this evening. Do not destroy your city," police announced.
The tensions between police and the group of protesters appeared to increase as the night went on. At around 10:45 p.m., Portland police caused confusion by saying demonstrators had broken in inside the federal courthouse, which is next to the justice center. However, minutes later, police said no demonstrators entered the courthouse. Police then said projectiles were being thrown at officers before declaring the unlawful assembly.
All of this occurred after the 8 p.m. curfew that was put into place for the second straight night due to destructive riots that took place Friday and Saturday.
Earlier Sunday night at the justice center, police declared a separate demonstration with a smaller, but still formidable, group of protesters an unlawful assembly and dispersed the group.
Portland police said protesters were throwing water bottles at officers.
In an attempt to prevent crowds from gathering in downtown, Portland police asked the Oregon Department of Transportation to close freeway off-ramps leading into downtown Portland, including off-ramps from US-26, I-5, I-84 and I-405. ODOT said the closures will last until midnight or later if necessary.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler explained during an appearance on MSNBC why the city asked for the ramps to be closed.
"Tonight we took an usual step of closing off on-ramps into the city of Portland because we heard anecdotally that some of the demonstrators were coming from outside of our city," Wheeler said.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, a passerby captured an inspiring moment on camera, as Portland police officers took a knee with protesters in downtown Portland.
Sunday marks the third day of protests over the death of George Floyd and police violence against African Americans.
In the first two days of protests in Portland, at least 70 people were arrested. Late-night protesters shattered storefront windows and looted businesses. On Friday night, the Multnomah County Justice Center was set ablaze. At least two officers were injured.
On Sunday morning, Wheeler said the protests have been "co-opted by rioters and looters." He said the rioters' actions no longer feel like sincere mourning for Floyd. At the same press conference, Portland Police Bureau Chief Jami Resch called the rioters a "group of selfish individuals."
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