Portland protests: National Guard activated as 'widespread violence' erupts

City has been at the centre of racial injustice demonstrations in recent months

Matt Mathers@MattEm90
Thursday 05 November 2020 19:15
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<p>A demonstrator takes to the streets of Portland</p>

A demonstrator takes to the streets of Portland

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Oregon authorities were forced to activate the state's National Guard amid "widespread violence" in Portland as tensions simmered in several cities across the US following Donald Trump's attempts to stop vote counting in key US presidential election battleground states.

State governor Kate Brown activated the National Guard as "riots" erupted in downtown Portland, with protesters taking to the streets to demand that all votes are counted in what was a tense end to the day after election night.

Police in Portland said they made at least 10 arrests and seized a rifle and fireworks. A riot was declared at around 7pm after some protesters smashed windows and trashed local businesses as tension reached fever point in the city.

Governor Brown activated the use of the state's National Guard to help local law enforcement manage the unrest, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Wednesday.  

Portland has in recent months been at the centre of racial injustice demonstrations following the police killing of black Americans, most recently the death of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

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Elsewhere, New York Police Department said it made about 50 arrests during protests that erupted in the city late on Wednesday. Demonstrations were also seen in Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland.

Protesters have taken to the streets to demand all votes are counted in the US presidential election after team Trump launched legal challenges in Michigan, Wisconsin Pennsylvania and Georgia — key battleground states.

Mr Biden was declared the winner in Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday, which effectively seals his victory in the election - provided he wins in Nevada or secures Georgia, which is currently on a knife-edge, or Pennsylvania, where Mr Trump is currently in the lead but mail ballots being counted hugely favour his rival.

After prematurely declaring victory early on Wednesday morning following a wave of Republican in-person voting, Mr Trump has since been slowly falling away in the race as election officials in battleground states tally-up mail-in ballots, which tend to favour Democrats.

Mr Trump's path to victory has all but vanished with only a handful of states left to declare. In a strategy that was telegraphed weeks ago, his campaign team now appears to be attempting to challenge the legitimacy of the result in key states.

Mr Trump and his operatives have for months claimed, without evidence, that mail-in ballots could fall foul to voter fraud. His campaign team has yet to officer any concrete evidence that fraud has taken place in any states during the 2020 election.

Democrats say Mr Trump's lawyers are likely to go after absentee ballots in the states mentioned above in an attempt to sow doubt in the legitimacy of the results there.  

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