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Fire set at Apple store, other businesses smashed in downtown Portland

The Hill logo The Hill 4/17/2021 Tal Axelrod
a group of people walking down the street: Fire set at Apple store, other businesses smashed in downtown Portland © Getty Fire set at Apple store, other businesses smashed in downtown Portland

A riot was declared in Portland, Ore. late Friday after a fire was set outside an Apple store and other businesses were damaged.

Police said Saturday that a group of between 80 and 100 people gathered in the downtown part of the city but dispersed peacefully without police contact. Later, a separate group of "several hundred people" began marching through the area and vandalizing and looting" businesses.

A riot was declared due to "the widespread criminal activity."

"Damage to businesses hurts our City. Our community has made it clear that it will not tolerate wanton violence and destruction" said acting Portland Police Chief Chris Davis. "No one is entitled to break windows, set fires, or attack police officers. If you choose to participate in this kind of criminal activity, you can expect to be arrested and prosecuted.

"None of this destruction tonight has anything to do with the important work of racial justice and reconciliation our community and our nation need at this critical time in our history," Davis added.

Four people were arrested in total in Friday's incident, which was the third time in five days police have declared a riot in Portland.

Violence has resumed in the city after it experienced a lull in demonstrations since last summer, when demonstrations against police violence against people of color swept through the city. Those protests were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) last month asked the city council for a one-time $2 million fund for police patrols to help curb the rise in demonstrations.

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