Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Sunday the Trump administration is breaking the law by having federal agents in his city detaining protesters.
“Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism,” the Democratic mayor told CNN’s State of the Union. “We want them to leave.”
Protesters are being pulled into unmarked vans, Mr. Wheeler alleged, saying due process rights are denied to his residents. He also said his goal is to build awareness about what is happening in his city to help stop the federal action.
“As far as I can see this is completely unconstitutional,” Mr. Wheeler said.
“This could happen in your city. What we are seeing is a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government,” he added, saying it is a “threat to our democracy.”
Violence has erupted in Portland with clashes between protesters and law enforcement earlier this week during Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.
Civil rights groups have also launched lawsuits to try to prevent the federal agents from removing lawyers advising the protesters and journalists from the area.
President Trump, meanwhile, has defended having federal agents in Portland to combat the protesters, saying local government officials have allowed the situation to move out of control.
“We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!” the president tweeted on Sunday.
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