Federal agents who have clashed with protesters in Portland, Oregon, will begin a “phased withdrawal” from Oregon’s largest city, Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday. The withdrawal of Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers could begin as soon as Thursday.
In a tweet, Brown said “After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence.”
She went on to say “Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement to the Associated Press the plan negotiated with Brown over the last 24 hours includes a “robust presence” of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland.
“State and local law enforcement will begin securing properties and streets, especially those surrounding federal properties, that have been under nightly attack for the past two months,” Wolf said.
Protests have roiled the city for more than two months since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Like many other protests, they sought to highlight and call for an end to racial injustice. They increasingly focused on federal property even before the U.S. agents arrived.
The move comes one day after Attorney General William Barr defended sending federal officers to Portland, saying “anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” to a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
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