Another day of violence in US
PIC: AFP

Thousands of protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, into the early hours of Saturday shooting fireworks at the building as plumes of tear gas, dispensed by U.S. agents, lingered above.

The demonstration went on for hours until federal agents entered the crowd around 2:30 a.m. and marched in a line down the street, clearing remaining protesters with tear gas at close range. They also extinguished a large fire in the street outside the courthouse.

The Federal Protective Service had declared the gathering as "an unlawful assembly" and said that officers had been injured.

As the crowd dispersed, someone was found stabbed nearby, Portland police said. The person was taken to a hospital and a suspect was taken into custody.

By 3 a.m., most demonstrators had left with only some small groups roaming the streets.

Earlier Friday night, the protest had drawn various organized groups, including Healthcare Workers Protest, Teachers against Tyrants, Lawyers for Black Lives and the "Wall of Moms." As the crowd grew - authorities estimate there were 3,000 present at the peak of the protest - people were heard chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "Feds go home" to the sound of drums.

Later, protesters vigorously shook the fence surrounding the courthouse, shot fireworks towards the building and threw glass bottles. Many times these actions were met by federal agents using tear gas and flash bangs.

The flow of tear gas caused protesters to disperse at times, some becoming sick as others remained toward the front of the courthouse with leaf blowers directing the gas back to the courthouse. Federal agents had leaf blowers of their own to counteract.

Daniel Pereyo was one protester who was tear-gassed.

Pereyo said he had been at the nearby park watching drummers and fireworks being shot, when his face and eyes began to burn.

"It's extremely painful," he said. "It's not the worst pain ever, but it is discomforting and it's distracting." As the clouds of gas floated down the street, protesters would swiftly regroup and return to chant and shake the fence that separates the people on the street from federal agents and the courthouse.

It was unclear whether anyone was arrested during the protest. The federal agents, deployed by President Donald Trump to tamp down the unrest, have arrested dozens during nightly demonstrations against racial injustice that often turn violent.

Democratic leaders in Oregon say federal intervention has worsened the two-month crisis, and the state attorney general sued to allege that some people had been whisked off the streets in unmarked vehicles.

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