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Clashes erupt in Portland outside US immigration building

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 16 : A protester is arrested during the standoff with police in Portland, Oregon on August 16, 2020. Protests have continued for the 80th consecutive night in Portland since the killing of George Floyd. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images )

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in Portland clashed with federal agents for the first time in weeks since July in a demonstration targeting a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building that started Wednesday night and lasted until it was broken up early Thursday, officials said.

The demonstrators spray painted windows on the building, broke several windows and shined laser lights at agents inside — prompting local police to declare the event a riot, meaning authorities could use tear gas and other riot control methods to break up the crowd, Portland police said in a statement.

Clashes ensued, with protesters hurling rocks and bottles at agents who came out of the building and at police, the statement said.

Tear gas and stun grenades were used by authorities around midnight to break up the crowd but it wasn’t clear which law enforcement agency used them, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The gas wafted through the open windows of residents living near the locations where the protesters and police confrontations took place, prompting complaints from the residents, the newspaper said.

Police arrested two people and several officers suffered minor injuries after they were hit with rocks, the Portland police statement said.

Demonstrations in which fires have been set, objects have been thrown and police have fired “crowd control munitions” have gripped Oregon’s biggest city for more than two months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Participants have repeatedly broken into the offices of a police union headquarters building and last month clashed for weeks with federal agents dispatched to protect a U.S. courthouse targeted by protesters.

In another Portland protest that started late Tuesday and lasted into early Wednesday, demonstrators broke out the windows of a county government building, sprayed lighter fluid inside and set a fire.