A encampment with the Occupy ICE movement is grown in front of Portland's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices.
Portland’s Abolish ICE protesters claimed federal officials fired pepper balls and tear gas on them after trapping people in ICE facilities Monday evening, but the Federal Protective Service says that was not the case.
“Two rounds of pepper balls were fired at occupiers. Now they have stopped. It seems like they are not trying to clear the camp but singled out those building a baricade [sic],” tweeted Always Antifascist.
Another tweet by Abolish I.C. E PDX stated that the DHS was “randomly firing tear gas.”
Robert Sperling with the Federal Protective Service (FPS) told The Daily Caller News Foundation that wasn’t the case. He said “pepper balls were thrown in front of the protesters and not at them” in an email.
The balls were thrown after protesters tied the doors so that ICE and FPS members were trapped inside the building, according to Sperling. The group has obstructed the entrance of the Portland facility for more than a week in response to President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy towards illegal immigration.
The Department of Homeland Security was able to clear the area, people are still unable to exit the ICE facilities.
Before pepper balls were used, protesters videotaped ICE members’ license plates.
DHS issued several warnings about the unlawful occupation, including a flyer handed to Portland Antifa Monday that read, “Individuals who continue to obstruct the entrance of this federal facility will be subject to arrest and prosecution in federal court.”
Antifa is recognized as a domestic terrorist organization according to DHS, often using violent tactics to get their way.