Federal tactical teams that have clashed with protesters in Portland in recent weeks will soon begin leaving the city, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon said Wednesday.
The federal agents will begin leaving downtown on Thursday, Ms. Brown said in a statement. An agreement between federal and state officials calls for the Oregon State Police to provide security for the exterior of the courthouse, while the usual team of federal officers that protects the courthouse year-round will continue to provide security for the interior of the courthouse.
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement that while the department has agreed with the Oregon governor on a withdrawal plan, the department will proceed with the withdrawal of security personnel in Portland only if federal officials are confident that federal properties will no longer be under attack.
The arrival of federal forces to protect the courthouse after weeks of raucous demonstrations outside protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis infuriated local officials who did not ask for the federal deployment. It also triggered a dramatic escalation in the protests in downtown Portland, with demonstrators mounting nightly rallies outside the courthouse that often included tear gas and fireworks.
“These federal officers have acted as an occupying force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community,” Ms. Brown said.
Ms. Brown said that Vice President Mike Pence was among the people involved in the discussions to withdraw the federal officers.
Portland has seen more than 60 days of consecutive protests since Mr. Floyd’s death. Much of the strife in the city had been between Portland police officers and the protesters.
But after President Trump issued an executive order to protect statues and federal property, federal officials sent militarized tactical teams to Portland. They employed aggressive tactics to keep demonstrators away from federal property. One protester was shot in the head with a crowd-control munition, and a Navy veteran was hit repeatedly with a baton as he stood still. In a tactic that was challenged in court by the Oregon attorney general, the federal officers used unmarked vans to target protesters for arrest.
Protest crowds have grown into the thousands, drawing out groups of mothers, military veterans and nurses, though Mr. Trump has portrayed the protest crowd as “violent anarchists.” Some protesters have lobbed water bottles and fireworks while also pointing lasers at federal officers.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.