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Protesters clash with federal agents outside the Portland courthouse

Thousands of protesters rallied outside the Portland federal courthouse until the early hours of Saturday and fired the fireworks while tear plumes of tear gas emitted by US agents lingered above.

The demonstration lasted for hours until around 2:30 a.m., federal agents entered the crowd and marched in a row down the street, cleaning up the remaining protesters with tear gas up close. They also put out a major fire in the street outside the courthouse.

The Federal Protection Service declared the meeting “an illegal meeting” and said the officers had been injured.

When the crowd dispersed, someone was found stabbed nearby, Portland police said. The person was taken to a hospital and a suspect was arrested.

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Protesters gathered outside the Portland Federal Courthouse (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)

At 3am, most of the protesters left with only a few small groups roaming the streets.

Earlier, the protest had attracted several organized groups, including the protest of health workers, teachers against tyrants, black life lawyers and the “wall of mothers”.

As the crowd grew – authorities estimate 3,000 were present at the height of the protest – people were said to sing ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Feds go home’ to the sound of drums.

Later, protesters vigorously shook the fence around the courthouse, fired fireworks at the building, and threw glass bottles. Often such actions were taken by federal agents using tear gas and flashy bangs.

Protesters sometimes spread due to the flow of tear gas, but some came armed with leaf blowers and returned the gas to the courthouse.

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Oregon officials claim the presence of federal officers fueled the situation (Noah Berger / AP)

It was unclear whether anyone had been arrested during the last protest. Federal agents, deployed by President Donald Trump to address the turmoil, have arrested dozens of nighttime demonstrations against racial injustice that often turn violent.

Friday’s protest came hours after a U.S. judge rejected Oregon’s request to restrict federal agents’ actions in the city.

Democratic leaders in Oregon say federal intervention has exacerbated the two-month crisis, and the attorney general complained that some people had been taken off the street with unmarked vehicles.

US District Judge Michael Mosman said the state had no power to sue protesters on the grounds that the legal action was “very unusual with a set of rules.”

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A physician treats Black Lives Matter demonstrator Lacey Wambalaba after exposure to chemical irritants deployed by federal officers (Noah Berger / AP)

Oregon sought a restraining order on behalf of its residents, not for injuries that had already occurred, but to prevent injuries from federal officers in the future. That combination makes the standard for granting such a motion very narrow, and the state did not prove that it was on the case, Mr Mosman wrote.

The Portland skirmishes have further fueled the nation’s political tensions and created a crisis across the boundaries of federal power as Trump moves to send U.S. officers to other democratically led cities to fight crime.

The legal action of Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum accused federal agents of arresting protesters for no probable reason and with excessive force. She sought a temporary restraining order to “immediately prevent federal authorities from improperly detaining Oregonians.”

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Federal officers were deployed by Donald Trump to calm the city (Noah Berger / AP)

David Morrell, a US government attorney, called the motion “extraordinary” and told the judge this week at a hearing that it was based solely on “a few worn-out statements” by witnesses and a Twitter video.

Ms Rosenblum said the implications of the statement are “extremely disturbing”.

She added, “While I respect Judge Mosman, I would like to ask this question: If the state of Oregon has no right to prevent this unconstitutional conduct by unidentified federal agents who get in the way of its citizens, who will ? “