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Judge blocks US agents from arresting observers in Portland

Protesters walk through chemical irritants dispersed by federal agents at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Following a larger Black Lives Matter Rally, several hundred demonstrators faced off against federal officers at the courthouse. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

 

July 24, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge specifically blocked U.S. agents from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers at protests in Oregon’s largest city where President Donald Trump is testing the limits of federal power.

Federal agents appeared to deploy tear gas early Friday to force thousands of demonstrators from crowding around the federal courthouse.

Protesters had projected lasers on the building and attempted to take down a security fence that had been reinforced to keep demonstrators at a distance. The protesters moved away as clouds of gas rose from the area and flash grenades could be heard.

U.S. Judge Michael Simon made his ruling late Thursday, a day after Portland’s mayor was tear-gassed by federal agents while making an appearance outside a federal courthouse during raucous demonstrations. Protesters have been kept up in the city for nearly two months since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

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