Arrests in Oregon, Washington after anti-government rioters set fires, vandalize buildings


PORTLAND, Ore. (NewsNation Now) — Riots overnight in two Northwest states resulted in vandalism, fires and multiple arrests.

The groups were anti-government and anti-fascist — unhappy with both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, according to authorities.

Rioters broke the windows and door at the Democratic Party of Oregon’s business office and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Portland, Oregon.

Federal officers declared an unlawful assembly and eventually tear-gassed the group. More than a dozen people were arrested.

The Portland community has experienced unrest for months, beginning with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis over the summer.

“We have this important moment in history with the inauguration it’s also to moment to recognize that things don’t automatically change when you move from one party to another,” said sociologist Randy Blazak.

Blazak studies extremism.

“We have this strange balancing act where Portland is trying to push for these social equity issues especially around policing, but can also alienate some people from the more mainstream that we might need to bring on board to really affect this change within the institutions themselves,” he said.

He says with this administration change — it brings forth new opportunity to talk about issues like institutional racism.

“There is now an opportunity to move from the streets to this sort of halls of institutions that have been dealing with the problem,” Blazak said.

People in the crowd on Wednesday night told NewsNation affiliate KOIN-TV that it appears federal officers outside the ICE building used more gas than usual. It filled the air from about a block from the building.

“They used more grenades then I have seen before, way more scat shells than I’ve seen before,” said Dr. Juniper Somonis, an independent researcher who goes out to protests and studies the impact of chemical weapons.

In Seattle, police said a group dressed in all black set an American flag on fire, vandalized several buildings and structures and threw smoke canisters. Police arrested three people for property damage, burglary and felony assault.

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