A protest against police brutality itself turned violent Wednesday when activists attempted to storm Portland City Hall, clobbered one security guard and scuffled with several others.
It was the biggest disruption to a Portland City Council meeting in more than a year, but the Council did not address the substance of protesters’ ire: violent crowd control techniques used by police during a large counter-demonstration downtown Saturday.
Some of those who say they were injured by officers dressed in military gear and wielding batons or non-lethal munitions were on scene Wednesday, trying to speak with city officials.
One demonstrator, who was masked and wearing a baseball helmet, smashed a security guard over the head repeatedly with a megaphone. The guard was seen afterward clutching a bag of ice, a bruise beginning to form on his cheek.
City Hall security chief Dorothy Elmore said she was also struck by a protester, in the arm.
An unidentified man, bandana-clad and lying on the floor outside the mayor’s office, was detained and carried out of City Hall by his arms and legs. Cops also arrested Diane Keeauver, 67, said Sgt. Chris Burley, a Portland police spokesman.
Each face second-degree trespassing charges, Burley said.
As tensions rose, security blocked dozens of demonstrators as they tried enter City Hall near the Happy Cup Coffee kiosk. Some carried placards showing images of the bloody wounds and gashes caused by crowd-control munitions fired by Portland police over the weekend.
“Come down Wheeler!” the crowd chanted between verbal barbs and invective hurled at security as well several police officers who appeared in the atrium.
“It’s our f—— building,” one demonstrator screamed.
But police threatened the protesters with arrest if they did not leave the building immediately. Another protester grabbed a glass sugar urn from the coffee stand and smashed it on the floor.
A wall of security personnel then began to move against the demonstrators, slowly forcing them out the front doors.
Several security guards tangled with activists, including the guard who was bashed on the head, while the crowd shouted “Shame on you!”