US federal troops have used tear gas and flash bang grenades against Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, on the 57th consecutive day of unrest in the city.
Security forces beat the demonstrators with nightsticks and used tear gas and rubber bullets to drive them back on Saturday night, according to reports.
The UN human rights office has already called on US police and security forces in Portland and other cities not to use disproportionate force or unlawful detention against protesters.
Protests in Portland were sparked over the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the city of Minneapolis nearly two months ago.
Protesters voiced anger over the deployment of federal agents to crack down on the rallies. The US Justice Department said it was investigating the use of force by the troops.
They chanted slogans against federal agents that have been deployed to the city by the US administration to quell protests triggered by the brutal murder of Floyd in police custody in May.
The Mayor of Portland also opposed the presence of the agents in the city, saying it was escalating the crisis.
Protesters complained of the federal agents’ presence in the city and voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, AFP reported.
“I don’t like what’s happening down here, what Trump is doing,” said Mike Shikany, a 55-year-old aerospace engineer,
Shikany added he did not “want to get anywhere near the little green men,” meaning the federal troops.
Jean Mullen, 74, said that without pressure nothing would change in the United States.
“It’s time to become the country we always brag about being. And we can’t brag anymore, about anything. We aren’t first in anything and it’s a terrible, terrible thing to see at the end of my life,” she said.
Teacher says Portland a “war zone”
“This is a war zone,” said US history teacher Joseph Erikson during an interview on the Portland protests.
Erikson is based in Seattle but came to witness the demonstrations as part of a school trip with students and colleagues.
The deployment of federal troops, ordered by President Donald Trump, has drawn widespread backlash from various popular rights groups and organizations, pitting state authorities against the White House.
Democratic leaders in Oregon say federal intervention has worsened the two-month crisis, and the state attorney general sued to allege some people had been whisked off the streets in unmarked vehicles.
Trump announced plans on Wednesday to dispatch a “surge” of federal agents to US cities amid widening crackdown on anti-racism protests.
The US president, who is running for re-election in November on a campaign of law and order, has threatened to deploy federal forces in more “Democrat-run cities” accused of being soft on crime.