“Protect the land, end America”: Riots continue in Portland, federal courthouse targeted; UPDATE: Why were barriers taken down?

A flashback to June? Nope — the protests and riots that have roiled Portland since last spring continue, including the targeting of the city’s federal courthouse. Before the “self-described anarchists” got to the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse, though, the crowd attacked businesses in the city, smashing windows and committing other “damage.” Federal officers played whack-a-mole with the rioters all night until they finally deployed teargas and pepper bullets to push the crowd down the street — twice:

Protests erupted outside the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse Thursday night as fires were set and federal service officers using chemical munitions to move the crowd back.

A group of about 50-60 people dressed in black were seen ripping down plywood, spray painting graffiti and setting fires. After a while, Federal Protective Officers pushed them back with tear gas and less-lethal munitions.

Over the course of about 2 hours, multiple skirmishes were seen as protesters set fires, officers put them out, then pushed the protesters back again. Tear gas was used outside the federal courthouse and protesters were arrested or detained.

What was the point of this particular night’s festivities? Oh, just the dismantling of the United States:

Earlier, dozens of people marched through the streets of downtown Portland in a rally apparently in support of indigenous people.

Many people held signs, including a large one that read: “Protect the land, end America.”

A better question might be why rioters feel so much impunity to continue these violent clashes, now going on for over eight months in Portland. The answer is likely because it’s a no-cost proposition for the rioters. One week ago, the Department of Justice moved to dismiss dozens of cases against rioters in Portland brought by the outgoing US attorney, many “with prejudice” so that they could not be re-filed. Multnomah County prosecutors have declared for months that they won’t prosecute rioters, a move that angered neighboring law-enforcement agencies enough that they now refuse to send support to Portland to deal with its lawlessness.

In other words, the rioters may not be able to “end America,” but they are well on their way to ending Portlandia. These businesses won’t be able to afford the damage they keep absorbing for much longer, and that means a big hit to tax receipts for Portland’s useless law-enforcement mechanisms. That creates a vicious cycle that we can see churning as we speak. Portland voters will have to choose — soon — whether they want chaos or they want peace and order. And so will we all, if the DoJ doesn’t start taking these attacks seriously again.

Update: Here’s another question for the DoJ and DHS too — who made the decision to take down the crowd barriers earlier this week, just days after dropping those charges?

Barriers placed in front of the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland in July 2020 were being removed Monday night.

The barriers and fencing surrounding the federal courthouse were put up during the nightly protests that roiled the city throughout 2020.

Portland officials tried fining the Department of Homeland Security, but the Supremacy Clause applies in this case, as the city well knows (and as KOIN points out, too). It didn’t take long for rioters to respond to those incentives.