Protesters Attempt to Create Autonomous Zone in Portland, Graffiti 'Smoke Pigs' on Precinct

Protesters in Portland, Oregon attempted to create an autonomous zone near the North Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau Thursday.

Hundreds of people gathered late Thursday and into early Friday in a demonstration in Northeast Portland that included property damage and multiple fires set in streets, including a fire on the north side of the precinct, according to a statement released by police Friday.

Police also said that demonstrators used dumpsters to barricade some of the precinct's exits. One person was heard by authorities shouting into a megaphone, "Going to burn the building down," in reference to the precinct.

Independent journalist Andy Ngô posted video and pictures of the aftermath in the area, showcasing the destruction caused by protesters. He tweeted: "Antifa militants occupied an attempted 'autonomous zone' around the Portland police North Precinct last night. They barricaded off the area with stolen property. They sprayed extremist messages on the building calling for police to be murdered."

Antifa militants occupied an attempted “autonomous zone” around the @PortlandPolice North Precinct last night. They barricaded off the area with stolen property. They sprayed extremist messages on the building calling for police to be murdered. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/WqCMlJwjCB

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 26, 2020

Graffiti was painted all over the walls of the precinct, including messages that read "the only good cop is a dead one" and "ACAB," an acronym for "all cops are bastards." Other messages included "smoke pigs" and "no more cops in [Portland]."

Newsweek reached out to the Portland police for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The protest took place on the one-month anniversary of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, even though Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground.

While many were at the Portland protest to seek reforms in law enforcement, the event grew more violent as the night went on. Police said in its statement that fireworks were thrown at officers by protesters, many of whom were wearing masks.

"At approximately 1:21 a.m., officers began dispersing the crowd in an effort to move them from the immediate area. While performing this lawful action, demonstrators fought with officers. Furthermore, demonstrators shot officers with paintball rounds, causing officers not to be able to see out of their face shields. Around 1:40 a.m., a mortar was launched on to the roof of North Precinct," police said.

Authorities eventually used "control munitions" and tear gas to disperse the crowd, which then led to looting and other fires being set on businesses in the surrounding area. Police said that numerous officers sustained injuries, and four arrests were made over the course of the entire evening.

"The dynamics of the demonstrators during this incident were more aggressive and violent than those seen in past weeks," police said.

Police Car
A police car with 'To Serve and Protect' on its side. Portland protesters attempted to create an autonomous zone near the Portland Police Bureau's North Precinct. Robert Alexander/Getty