Los Angeles | Donald Trump’s administration has agreed to phase out federal agents deployed in Portland as of July 30, Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown said on Wednesday.
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“After discussions with the vice president and administration officials, the federal government has accepted my request and will begin to withdraw its agents,” Brown wrote in a statement.
Acting Homeland Security Minister Chad Wolf, for his part, said in a statement that his services “will continue to maintain our additional law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are sure” that the tribunal and other federal sites “will no longer be attacked”.
“This has been our mission and our goal since these violent, criminal activities began,” he says.
Since the arrival of these police officers at the beginning of July, the anti-racist demonstrations organized for two months in this large city in the north-west have become very tense and clashes have taken place every night near the federal court. Again Tuesday, the Minister of Justice Bill Barr justified this intervention intended according to him to put an end to “riots”, painting an apocalyptic picture of the situation.
Governor Kate Brown has a radically different interpretation of the facts: “These federal police officers acted as an occupying force, refused to account and brought violence and conflict to our city,” she accuses.
The death of black forty-something George Floyd suffocated on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white policeman, sparked huge anti-racist protests across the United States. The mobilization weakened considerably, but pockets of protest persisted, especially in Portland, a city clearly marked on the left and with a strong history of protest.
The deployment of federal agents, sometimes from customs or border police and wearing a whole military panoply, had the effect of hardening the movement in Portland.
Federal police have since been dispatched to other major cities across the country, most of which are run by Democrats, such as Chicago. On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s Republican government announced the dispatch of these forces to three new cities (Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee), officially to help them stem an upsurge in crime.