(Natural News) A billboard right outside the main office building of the Portland Police Association (PPA) was set on fire by a group of demonstrators Monday evening, Oct. 19 because it featured an advertisement that bore a message urging people to support the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
The PPA is the main police union that represents rank-and-file members of the PPB. Their main office building is located in a residential area in the city’s North Portland neighborhood.
According to the PPB, at around 8 p.m., a group began to gather at Arbor Lodge Park, several blocks to the southwest of the PPA building. According to social media posts advertising the march, the demonstrators’ main goal was to head to the police union building and call for the abolition of the current system of policing in the country, as well as for the end of the prison system.
By 9:50 p..m., the crowd numbered to a little more than 100 people, but only around 75 of the demonstrators would march out to the PPA building. They would be accompanied by support vehicles that blocked traffic for their march.
Advertisement was targeted because of its pro-police message
The group arrived outside the PPB building at around 10:15 p.m. A small detachment of the PPB was present at the scene, observing the proceedings from a safe distance. They were accompanied by a sound truck, which immediately warned demonstrators to “be courteous to your neighbors.” They also warned them against demonstrating on the street, blocking traffic and committing criminal acts such as vandalism against the PPA building or any other public or private property.
According to the PPB, the group immediately ignored this order. Some people proceeded to occupy a roadway and block traffic using A-frame traffic signs. Another group trespassed on private property by climbing onto the roofs of nearby businesses and demonstrating from an area where the police cannot easily reach them. (Related: Black business owner threatened for supporting police in Portland.)
The demonstrators also proceeded to commit acts of vandalism. One or several of the demonstrators were even able to throw several paint bombs at a pro-police billboard right outside the PPA’s office. This billboard had a message thanking PPB officers for their service to the community and urging Americans to “wake up” and show their support for law enforcement.
At 11:15 p.m., a still-unidentified rioter was able to set the billboard on fire. It is unclear how the individual was able to do so.
“The fire burned the attached advertisement as the rest of the structure appeared to remain unaffected by the fire. The fire appeared to extinguish itself,” said the police in their report of the evening’s events.
— Bridget Chavez (@BridgetChavezTV) October 20, 2020
Videos taken during the incident show that the mood at the demonstration was very jovial. People were walking around the street, loud hip-hop music was playing and people were cheering as the fire consumed the advertisement.
As the fire was burning, the PPB’s incident commander in charge of maintaining order during the demonstration requested the presence of Portland Fire & Rescue to check the billboard and to assess if any damage was done to the roof of the PPA building. The PPB’s sound truck announced another warning for the demonstrators to stay off the buildings and the street and to not commit any more acts of arson.
“If you engage in criminal activity you could be arrested and subject to the use of force to include crowd control agents, impact weapons and/or tear gas.”
According to the PPB, by 12:15 a.m. the next day, most of the demonstrators had already left the area. At the demonstration, the police officers did not engage with the group and did not make any arrests.
The PPA building is a regular target of marches and “direct actions” by the city’s Antifa and Black Lives Matter chapters. It is regularly vandalized. Back in July, rioters tried to burn down the building by starting a small fire in one of the office rooms. A month later, rioters once again targeted the building, this time by breaking their way into the office and trying to flood the contents on its first floor.
Learn more about the state of the rioting in cities like Portland and Seattle by reading the latest articles covering the recent events at Rioting.news.