May Day Riot. Portland OR. 5/1/2017 Live News Action
Portland May Day march erupts into fiery riot; 25 arrested
“Protesters shattered business windows, set bonfires in the streets and vandalized a police car Monday afternoon in downtown Portland as a May Day protest devolved into a short-lived but chaotic riot.
The demonstration began as a city-permitted march featuring impassioned but peaceful rhetoric, but it ultimately was defined by black-clad protesters, fires and property damage. Ninety minutes into the march, police declared the gathering a riot. Officers used flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd after they pronounced the march illegal, eventually arresting 25 people.
May 1 is International Workers’ Day, and protesters from the Philippines to Paris celebrated by demanding better working conditions. The holiday historically celebrates laborers’ rights but in recent years has expanded its focus in the U.S. to support immigrants.
In Portland, the afternoon began with a rally in the South Park Blocks, where speakers addressed about 1,000 people in Shemanski Park while a group of self-described anarchists gathered at a distance from the microphones.
Police at the periphery of the rally confiscated several sticks, poles and homemade shields — which were in sharp contrast to the more plentiful balloons, banners, costumes and props that otherwise filled the park. Some of the black-clad demonstrators burned small American flags.
Marchers set off after about 90 minutes, chanting as they marched south along the park blocks and turned toward the waterfront. Marchers remained mostly peaceful as they meandered past City Hall and the west side of the Justice Center.
But things turned violent as some in the crowd began throwing rocks and full soda cans at police while the mass moved north on Southwest 2nd Avenue.
Police later said items protesters threw or launched at officers also included fireworks, road flares and smoke bombs. They initially said anarchists also threw Molotov cocktails.
Police in riot gear rolled in after the first objects were lobbed. Shortly after, police declared the assembly “unlawful” and warned that any marchers in the streets faced arrest.
The first of two main flashpoints came shortly after at Southwest 4th Avenue and Morrison Street, where demonstrators lit a large bonfire in the intersection using traffic cones, newspaper and brochure boxes, wood and a pallet. The blaze produced a plume of black smoke that rolled skyward next to a Starbucks and MAX tracks.
Officers rushed the scene, firing flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd. The flames were quickly extinguished.
Police shortly after declared the demonstration a riot, saying protesters had vandalized a police car, were “attacking” officers and were vandalizing property.
Officers stymied the protest on the west side of City Hall about 10 minutes later, swooping in on protesters from the north and south and taking dozens into custody.”
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