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Federal agents clash with Portland protesters, use tear gas

Protesters and federal agents faced off again Friday night in downtown Portland, with protesters shooting fireworks toward the federal courthouse and agents responding with tear gas.

Thousands of protesters were on hand, and the demonstration lasted into the early hours of Saturday, The Associated Press reported. According to the wire service, federal officers marched down the street outside the federal courthouse around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, using tear gas at close range to disperse remaining protesters.

The Federal Protective Service — the law enforcement group usually tasked with protecting the country's federal buildings — said that the protest was deemed an unlawful assembly and that officers were injured during the night.

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Black Lives Matter protests have dominated downtown Portland since George Floyd died during an encounter with Minneapolis police in late May. The majority of the protests have originated around the federal courthouse, resulting in damage to the building.

The damage prompted acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for 'multi-year transformation' Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave MORE to deploy DHS agents to the city in late June to help protect the courthouse and other federal buildings in Portland's downtown.

However, the presence of the officers has only exacerbated the situation, with clashes between the two sides frequently escalating to violence.

The conduct of the officers has been called into question after reports late last week surfaced of agents in unidentifiable military fatigues picking up protesters in unmarked vans and detaining them.

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Congressional lawmakers have expressed outrage over the situation, while the Trump administration has doubled down on its hard-line stance against the protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE this week lauded the work the officers have done in Portland and signaled that he would send additional federal agents to other "Democratic" cities.

"I'm going to do something — that I can tell you," Trump said Monday. "We're not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats."