• 26 July, 2020 11:22 am

International

U.S. charges 18 Portland protesters as it sends tactical police to Seattle

USA, July 26 :

U.S. prosecutors on Friday unveiled charges against 18 Portland, Oregon protesters ranging from assaulting police to arson and trespassing, a day after the Trump administration expanded the deployment of tactical police to Seattle.

The arrests came this week during clashes with specially equipped federal police agents sent to Portland, where 56 straight days of antiracism demonstrations have captured national attention.

The federal forces have drawn criticism from Democrats and civil liberties groups who allege excessive force and federal overreach by President Donald Trump.

The deployment of federal officers has also drawn the scrutiny of the Justice Department inspector general, who announced an investigation of their use of force, and prompted a federal judge to issue a temporary order limiting their use of force and blocking them from arresting journalists and legal observers of street protests.

The Trump administration sent a tactical team to Seattle on Thursday in anticipation of protests this weekend despite the objections of the Seattle mayor and Washington state governor, who warned of a Portland-like escalation of tensions.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Brian Moran said in a statement that federal agents are stationed in Seattle to protect federal properties and the work done in those buildings.

“Let’s not let the violence that has marred the Portland protests damage peaceful movements here for a more just society,” Moran said. “My hope is our community will speak with one voice to discourage those who seek to hijack peaceful protests with damage and destruction.”

The Trump administration has also sent federal police to Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque over the objections of those mayors.

Trump, who is running for re-election on Nov. 3 in part on a campaign of law and order, has threatened to deploy federal forces in more cities run by Democratic mayors, who he accuses of being soft on crime.(Reuters)

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