Protesters in Portland, Oregon, pulled down statues of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and broke windows late Sunday amid a demonstration on what organizers called an “Indigenous Day of Rage,” NBC local affiliate KGW reported.
Monday is the federal holiday Columbus Day, which some cities and states have renamed Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Earlier in the evening, police tweeted that a mass gathering had formed and that some protesters were trying to “pull down a statue with a chain.”
An hour later, police declared the protest a riot, ordered protesters to disperse and said that those who chose to stay would be subject to “arrest, citation, or crowd control agents, including, but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons.”
Photos taken after the protest showed the Lincoln statue resting on its head with spray paint on the base, while the Roosevelt statue rested on its side with orange spray paint on the base. In addition to the toppling of the statues, the glass front and doors of the Oregon Historical Society were smashed.
In the announcement of the protest on Saturday, organizers Generational Resistance called on social media for an “end to colonialism” and the abolishment of the police in a post where they also asked for no photos or video to be taken.
They also warned indigenous people who wanted to bring “drums, medicine or regalia” that it “might not be the best event to bring things that are sacred to you.”
It was not immediately clear whether the statues were defaced by protesters involved in the Generational Resistance march.
Portland has become a flashpoint for sometimes violent political conflict. The city saw months of nightly protests after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, with some protesters lighting fires and antagonizing the police. In July, there were weeks of intense protests in the city after U.S. agents from the Department of Homeland Security were sent to guard a federal courthouse.
President Donald Trump, who has frequently criticized the protests in Portland, on Monday published a series of tweets about Sunday night’s demonstration, retweeting what appeared to be images of the damage and offering to send federal law enforcement.
In August, he praised a pro-Trump caravan of activists whose presence appeared to contribute to violent clashes in the city.
Kurt Chirbas and Caroline Radnofsky contributed.