Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler condemned the May Day rioting that resulted Monday in 25 arrests, the latest in a series of violent outbreaks that have roiled the liberal Oregon enclave for months.
“In Portland, we respect peaceful protest, but we do not and cannot support acts of violence and vandalism,” said Mr. Wheeler in a statement. “That’s not political speech. That’s crime.”
Portland police arrested 25 protesters and shut down the May Day march after the event “devolved into a full-scale riot” as throngs of masked “black bloc” activists and others set fires, spray-painted buildings and a police car, and broke windows at businesses and vehicles.
“Numerous projectiles were thrown at or launched at police and firefighters including rocks, bottles, ball bearings, fireworks, smoke bombs, and road flares,” said the Portland Police Bureau.
One paramedic was hit with a full can of Pepsi, an apparent reference to a recent ad showing reality television star Kendall Jenner handing a Pepsi to a police officer.
“Last night was another chapter in a story that has become all too familiar in Portland: Protests that begin peacefully but devolve quickly due to the actions of those whose only desire is to damage people and property,” said Mr. Wheeler.
Known for its liberal politics and Democratic Party rule—Mr. Wheeler is a Democrat, as are most of the city commissioners—Portland has become a center of left-wing and anarchist protest activity, especially since the November election.
Multiple city council meetings have been shut down by unruly activists, while demonstrations have been plagued by clashes with police. A rose parade in East Portland scheduled for April 29 was cancelled over an email threatening violence.
“I want to thank the Portland Police Bureau for doing a tremendous job under very dangerous circumstances,” said Mr. Wheeler. “They reacted swiftly and effectively to minimize incidents of violence and vandalism when they occurred.”
He said he planned to “reach out to downtown businesses that were damaged yesterday. They play a vital role in the economic life of our community and they have my support.”
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