PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The head of the Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the way the Portland Police Bureau handled Saturday’s demonstrations.
“The Portland Police Bureau’s response to protest is completely unacceptable in a free society,” David Rogers said in a statement issued Sunday night. “The repeated use of excessive force, and the targeting of demonstrators based on political beliefs are a danger to the First Amendment rights of all people. We call on the Portland Police Bureau, Mayor Wheeler, and Chief Outlaw to immediately end the use of weapons, munitions, and explosives against protesters.”
Saturday’s clashes were the most recent of several this year in the city as right-wing militants converged, met by counter-protesters, including members of anti-fascist, or “antifa,” groups. City officials have struggled with striking a balance between free speech and keeping events from spiraling out of control.
But on Saturday, some said police seemed to act mostly against those protesting the presence of the extreme-right demonstrators, using stun grenades and what appeared to be rubber bullets against them.