Just when the overabundance of violence seemed to be calming in the Rose City, a group of aggressive and violent protesters have formed and fortified an “autonomous zone” complete with sentries, weapons, ammunition stockpiles and a taste for targeting law enforcement officers.
Law enforcement officials, along with the city’s mayor, have called for a peaceful resolution to the illegal occupation of a public space in that city by an aggressive group of protesters who have established the new autonomous zone fortified with barricades, stockpiled weapons, and posted armed guards.
Wednesday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said, “We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists, and threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space.”
“Our goal is for this to resolve peacefully to increase safety for all involved,” Lovell continued, and called on the individuals involved in the occupation to reach out to officers to “discuss a peaceful outcome.”
BLM, antifa & other far-left extremists have established a new autonomous zone in north Portland after violently repelling law enforcement. They're trying to protect a squat that was earlier raided by police. Firearms were found on site. Read my report: https://t.co/FTavdjeaCB
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) December 8, 2020
The city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler – who has been heavily criticized for his lackluster approach to providing law-abiding citizens and business owners of Portland relief from the violent lawlessness, sent out a statement calling for an end to what he described as an “occupation.”
Wheeler authorized the Portland police “to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation…There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.”
“It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end,” Wheeler said in the statement. “There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”
I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) December 9, 2020
An aggressive and unyielding group of protesters blocked a section of North Mississippi Avenue Tuesday and proceeded to set-up barricades and fortifications, essentially establishing an encampment, police said.
In an earlier statement, law enforcement spokesmen said as police officers stood just outside the barricades, protesters pelted them with rocks and paint-filled balloons.
Some of the protesters involved in the occupation have assaulted people, and traffic and transit have been significantly disrupted in the immediate area. Emergency vehicle, including fire and EMS personnel, have been obstructed from engaging in emergency services to Portland residents in the area.
In a statement by Portland police, they said the, “actions of those responsible for the disruption suggest intent to harm the community.”
A city spokesman said between September and November authorities have received over 81 calls complaining about the now fortified encampment, including reports of fights, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, and threats, as well as illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks, and access to homes.