More than 100 federal agents have been deployed to the streets of Portland, Oregon, to protect federal buildings in the city in a mission called “Operation Diligent Valor,” a report said Wednesday.
The camouflaged agents, who have received criticism for detaining protesters in the city, are part of the “Rapid Deployment Force” of the operation, which is lead by the Department of Homeland Security, Politico reported.
The operation was detailed in a court filing in a suit that challenged the tactics of the federal agents, according to the report.
“In response to the increasingly violent attacks, on the morning of July 4th, the DHS Rapid Deployment Force implemented tactics intended to positively identify and arrest serious offenders for crimes such as assault, while protecting the rights of individuals engaged in protected free speech activity,” Gabriel Russell, a regional director of the Federal Protective Service, wrote in the court filing.
He added the agents are from several federal law enforcement branches: the Federal Protective Service, ICE and the US Marshals Service, according to Politico.
On Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning in the city, protesters again clashed with police and federal agents.
A team of protesters propped several wooden beams and sandbags against a door to the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in the melee, according to tweets from Clypian, an online news outlet run by South Salem High School students.
Videos posted by Clypian throughout the night show protesters yanking off plywood covering another entrance and the feds launching tear gas and pepper bombs at the crowds. At one point, someone tosses a firework at the officers, which explodes at their feet.
Another video showed the plywood facade of the courthouse — which has been routinely attacked as the feds stand guard inside — on fire, prompting a stream of officers to pour out.
Additional reporting by Lia Eustachewich
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