Portland Protesters Use Leaf Blowers to Clear Federal Tear Gas From Parks

Homeland Security chief gets defensive: “These police officers are not stormtroopers, they are not the Gestapo as some have described them.”

A protester hurls a flare toward police lines. (Alex Wittwer)

As an uprising against police violence enters its ninth week, and a federal incursion finishes its third, neither President Donald Trump nor the citizens of Portland are standing down.

Videos taken by freelance reporter Sergio Olmos in downtown Portland on July 20 shows hundreds of yellow-clad mothers massed outside the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse. At dusk, they raised their hands and sang a repeating ditty: "Hands up, please don't shoot me."

The moms were part of crowd of thousands, the largest Portland has seen since Trump deployed federal police to Portland starting July 2. Reports of harsh tactics by federal agents have reanimated protests that Trump pledged to have quelled.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf defended his officers this afternoon in a press briefing. He decried the characterization of his officers as an "occupying army" as hyperbolic.

"These officers are not military," Wolf said. "These police officers are not stormtroopers, they are not the Gestapo as some have described them."

But in an interview on Fox News—which broadcasts to the president's base—Wolf was more belligerent.

"I don't need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job," Wolf said, adding that Oregon elected officials had "fostered this environment that allows these individuals to attack the courthouse."

Protesters—including the "wall of moms"—surrounded that federal courthouse Monday night. Some protesters released smoke and tried to enter the building. Officers again deployed tear gas in large quantities.

In Chapman Square, protesters used leaf blowers to clear the gas away.

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