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Portland kicks off 2021 with a riot for the new year

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Portland rang in the new year with a riot — as vandals wreaked havoc throughout the city, tossing Molotov cocktails and attacking law enforcement with rocks and bricks, police said.

The crowd convened around 7:45 p.m. near Chapman Square downtown, the heart of protests that raged in the city throughout 2020.

Portland police said at least two Molotov cocktails were thrown and commercial-grade fireworks were launched at the federal courthouse and Justice Center, which some rioters attempted to break into.

The crowd also set multiple fires, chucked rocks, bricks and frozen water bottles at officers from the Federal Protective Services and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Some were struck by paint-filled balloons, with Portland police saying they may have been “laced with a caustic substance as it caused burning to the skin.”

Police in Portland declared a riot following a New Year’s Eve gathering near the Justice Center.
Police in Portland declared a riot following a New Year’s Eve gathering near the Justice Center.Brendan Gutenschwager via Storyful

A riot was declared just before 11 p.m. and cops warned protesters that if they didn’t leave the area they’d be subject to arrest “and/or the use of force, including but not limited to impact weapons and tear gas.”

The group also destroyed property, including shattering a Starbucks window, KOIN reported.

The planned protest was billed as being “in solidarity with BLM” with “no streamers, no megaphones, no masters,” according to online posts.

“New year, same goal,” the post said.

The raucous protest broke up around 2 a.m. only after police used inert smoke and some impact munitions.

Police said arrests were made but that information was not immediately available.

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