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Protests hit US cities as Portland marks 100th day of rallies

Mass protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States have entered their 100th day in the western city of Portland, Oregon.

The protests that broke out in Portland after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25 have evolved into a seemingly nationwide battle between progressives and far-right groups.

The US city was the scene of counter-demonstrations in the early hours of Saturday, with the local and state leaders denouncing in a statement potential violence that could take place over the weekend.

“We are coming together to condemn the acts of violence in Portland that have occurred as thousands of Oregonians have been peacefully protesting …” the statement read.

“The violence must stop. There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon. All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable. Together, we are committing ourselves to do the hard work that will bring meaningful change for racial justice and police reform.”

In a similar statement on Friday, a group of more than 90 elected officials in Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties also called for non-violence during demonstrations.

Last week, a man named Aaron was shot and killed after a long caravan of vehicles, including hundreds of trucks full of President Donald Trump’s supporters, entered downtown Portland and led to fights, disturbances and collisions.

Meanwhile, other major US cities are also the scene of huge rallies in condemnation of racism-driven violence against African Americans and various minorities just ahead of high-stakes elections.

The city of Rochester in New York State was gripped by protests for a third day on Friday, with African American Daniel Prude’s family saying he died on March 30 after being removed from life support in the wake of a police encounter.

Prude lost his life due to asphyxiation after a group of police officers put a hood over his head, then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes while he was handcuffed and naked.

Body cam footage of Prude’s arrest sparked outrage and prompted a probe from the state’s attorney general.

The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”

Much to the public’s amazement, the head of Rochester’s police union defended on Friday the brutal actions of officers involved in the arrest of Prude, claiming that they had followed protocols in using a hood to restrain him.

The US city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, has also recently been the scene of protests and violent clashes with police over the police shooting of African American Jacob Blake.

Blake remains hospitalized after being shot in the back seven times by a white Kenosha police officer on August 23. His family says he has been paralyzed from the waist down.

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