'I'm not afraid': Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tear-gassed by federal agents during protests

Democrat tells crowds that Donald Trump is abusing powers with agents deployed to 'occupy' Oregon's biggest city

Federal agents use batons and tear gas on Wall of Moms Portland protest group

Portland mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed with protesters amid continued street clashes between demonstrators and federal forces in Oregon's biggest city.

According to video and Twitter posts on Wednesday night, mayor Wheeler turned-up to support protesters angry at Donald Trump’s deployment of federal agents to the city, when he was tear-gassed.

“It stings. It’s hard to breathe. I can tell you with 100 per cent honesty I saw nothing that provoked this response,” Mr Wheeler told The New York Times. “I’m not afraid but I am p***ed off.”

The mayor, who appeared somewhat dazed at one point on Wednesday night, was seen putting on protective eyewear that was handed to him.

The same crowds have spent almost two months calling on authorities to reform Portland’s police department since police officers in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, on Memorial Day. The killing, and those of other African Americans, sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice.

Mr Wheeler, who called the situation “abhorrent” on Wednesday, told crowds that he was there “to stand with you no matter what”.

“If they launch the tear gas against you, then they’re launching the tear gas against me,” said the mayor, who condemned the presence of federal forces in Portland.

The federal government claims the deployment is necessary to restore order in the city.

“We don’t want them here,” Mr Wheeler told demonstrators earlier on Wednesday. “They’re not properly trained to be here. And we’re asking them right at this moment, we’re demanding that they leave.

“We demand that the federal government stop occupying our city,” he continued, while warning others that Mr Trump’s actions were an “American problem” and an “abuse of federal powers”.

“The president of the United States has said himself – on record – he said he is sending federal officers to cities based on whether or not they are led by Democratic mayors and city councillors,” Portland’s mayor said.

Despite audible applause, some demonstrators booed the mayor over his alleged inaction on Portland police department reform.

Others held signs saying “tear gas Ted”, amid accusations that he allowed Portland police to use tear gas against protesters before federal agents arrived.

One could be heard shouting: “Ted, what are you gonna do to f***ing stop them from this s***. They have gassed us illegally tonight."

Portland’s city council voted on Wednesday to end police bureau cooperation with federal government agencies charged with protecting government property.

That came as 15 Democratic mayors from across the US condemned federal forces, whilst Mr Trump announced more deployments to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to stamp out protests.

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