PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police used flashbangs and pepper spray against anti-Trump protesters as they marched through downtown Portland on Inauguration Day.
The planned protest began peacefully Friday afternoon, but the tone of the event changed when police said protesters began throwing “rocks, bottles, flares and unknown liquids” at officers who blocked them from walking onto local bridges.
Clashes between protesters and police continued throughout the night. Civilians kicked gas canisters back at officers after they deployed them on downtown streets.
A large group of protesters marched back to Pioneer Courthouse Square later in the evening, after failing to walk onto the Morrison and Burnside bridges.
Some of them were also armed with clubs and sticks, police said.
Eventually, many of the protesters headed back onto downtown Portland streets after officers used loudspeakers to order them to leave the area around Pioneer Courthouse Square. The protest, police said, was no longer considered peaceful and anyone who didn’t follow orders was subject to arrest.
Portland’s Resistance, one of the groups that organized the event, tweeted that the event was over around 8 p.m. Still, many protesters and group leaders remained.
Officers repeatedly told those in the streets that they were participating in an “unlawful assembly” and would be subject to arrest if they did not vacate the area.
Road flares and bottles were also thrown at police during the anti-Trump march, authorities said. Earlier in the day, some protesters burned U.S. flags.
Police also said Waterfront Park was closed for the evening and protesters weren’t allowed there.
KOIN 6 News saw thousands of anti-Trump protesters gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square all throughout the afternoon. They started marching just after 5 p.m.
By 5:30 p.m., there were reports of vandalism at City Hall, according to police.
Demonstrators first started marching down 6th Avenue and things immediately escalated when a car tried to drive past demonstrators. The car became surrounded, and demonstrators kicked, spat on, and cursed at the vehicle.
It did not take long for protesters to also block TriMet.
Law enforcement officers were staged along the sides of the protest on Friday evening.
Before protests began, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he’d be stationed at the command center, helping police leadership deal with the protest.
At times in the square, the scene grew tense, particularly when police removed sticks from a number of signs belonging to protesters.
Just before 3 p.m., demonstrators started burning American flags in the square, and things grew a little more tense.
A march of PSU students arrived at Pioneer Square Courthouse, with bicycle PPB officers joining them.
While protesters marched in Portland, a Trump celebration party was held in Vancouver.
About 200 protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Washington, carrying signs that included “Resist Trump” and “Not My President.”
Protests and rallies following President Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday were also scheduled for later in the day in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle.
Protests rallies and marches are scheduled in Portland and Seattle as Donald Trump is inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president.
In Seattle, a student walkout at Seattle Central was planned for noon Friday, along with a rally through the city for immigrant and refugee rights later in the afternoon. And an evening rally is planned at Westlake Park downtown.
In Portland there’s a noon student walkout at Portland State University, as well as a flag-burning event to be staged at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the afternoon. Friday evening afternoon and evening a large protest was scheduled in downtown Portland that is expected to draw thousands.
TriMet announced they will alter and may suspend service in the downtown core. TriMet officials clarified earlier statements Thursday that seemed to indicate they would suspend service over safety concerns.
The Starbucks location at Pioneer Courthouse Square will be closing at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Nordstrom’s store in Pioneer Courthouse Square also boarded up their windows early on Inauguration Day in preparation of the protests. Nordstrom spokesperson Emily Sterken told KOIN 6 News, “The safety of our customers and employees is always a top priority. Like a number of other retailers in the area, we made the decision to close our Portland store early today (at 2 p.m.). We plan to have normal hours tomorrow, though we’ll continue to work with local authorities to monitor the situation closely.”
Also, Fox Tower Regal Cinema in downtown Portland will close and lock its doors at 3 p.m. Friday in anticipation of the protest disruption.
Portland Public Schools announced they would release students from MLC and Lincoln at 2 p.m. Bus schedules will be adjusted, all athletic and after-school activities are cancelled.
Protests began in Washington DC ahead of the Inaugural Parade with President Trump and his family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report