PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Department of Homeland Security officers, clad in riot gear, removed protesters camped out at the ICE facility on Southwest Macadam Avenue early Thursday morning.
The officers arrived at the camp and formed a line to block the protesters. Other officers immediately began dismantling tents and placing items into a U-Haul truck. The move comes after authorities delivered notices on Monday and Tuesday for protesters to vacate the property or be arrested.
Some protesters were seen facing off with the officers — calling them Nazis and fascists. The federal agents gave very little response to the demonstrators.
At least 7 people were arrested, but later released. They were cited for failing to comply with directions and blocking the building’s entrance. An eighth person was temporarily detained after approaching a police line in his vehicle, but was later released without being charged.
Despite the arrests, the incident remained relatively peaceful.
“There was some, but nothing was violent or anything like that,” Rob Sperling with the Federal Protective Service told KOIN 6 News. “Actually, I would say it was very calm and peaceful.”
By noon, both the officers and protesters seemed settled in and will likely stay in place for the foreseeable future.
More people have filled the street near that ICE facility as a vigil is now underway, protesters guiding traffic as the road remains closed. It’s been, to say the least, an interesting day down here – full wrap at 11 #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/cJHJAuPCDY— Cole Miller (@ColeKOIN) June 29, 2018
“We’re not going anywhere,” protester Danialle James said. “The things that are going on behind closed doors with this agency, it’s sick so it needs to be exposed.”
While the protesters were forced off the ICE facility, more than 100 are still nearby in an area alongside the building that’s not federal property. They have continued to bring food and camping into their tent encampment.
Mayor Ted Wheeler released this statement Thursday evening:
Once on the site, Federal police blocked the roadway. Because motorists were suddenly unable to access the roadway, Portland Police officers arrived to assist motorists in identifying alternative routes around road closures.
I join those outraged by ICE actions separating parents from their children, and support peaceful protest to give voice to our collective moral conscience. The City of Portland does not enforce federal immigration law, and I have been clear that Portland Police will not be used to break up a nonviolent occupation on federal property of a federal agency that has its own police force.”
While ICE reopened Thursday after being shut down for 11 days, officials said it likely won’t resume normal operations until next week.
Residents nearby the ICE facility are dealing with a lot of confusion and commotion since protesters were removed from the building, but remain in the streets.
Several cars ended up driving the wrong way down Southwest Moody due to the road block — almost causing an accident.
This is the 4th driver I’ve seen head the wrong way down SW Moody – a one way street today… Now the driver has to back up into oncoming traffic due to the blockade. This intersection near SW Bancroft & Moody is an accident waiting to happen. #koin6news #protests #pdx pic.twitter.com/3FGCNjxHdi— Jennifer Dowling (@JenDowlingKoin6) June 29, 2018
While some neighbors say the protest has been loud at times — with sirens and bagpipes blaring — many say they don’t mind the protest as long as it’s respectful.
“Today has probably been the most commotion,” neighbor Josh Francis said. “Police arresting people and the news, so everybody is kind of stirred up, but for the past few days, everybody has been going about their business.”
Winta Yohannes with city commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office helped get SW Bancroft back open. She met with PPB and DHS to negotiate with the protesters and get the road reopened Friday afternoon.
Watch Chopper 6 footage from early Thursday morning