Bricks, batteries, frozen water bottles, sling shots with ball bearings and even feces were among the homemade weapons thrown at a group of federal marshals in Portland, Oregon, who described a daily war zone during recent violent protests in the city.
At least 20 deputies from the US Marshals Service have been injured, suffering cuts and concussions, over more than two months of guarding the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse — a focal point of violent protests which began after the May death of George Floyd in police custody, according to a recent report.
The “relentless” attacks have included demonstrators launching professional fireworks and mortar rounds stuffed with nails at the marshals — and the violence has taken a toll, said Russel Burger, the federal marshal for Oregon.
“They live in this community. They go to church here, all their friends and family are here. And so night after night to come under attack is very stressful for them,” Burger said in an interview with NBC News.
When the courthouse was boarded up and a fence built around the perimeter after the July 4 weekend, the marshals faced increasingly brutal attacks, said Burger, including one deputy who was attacked with a hammer. Three are still waiting to see if they have permanent eye damage from lasers pointed at them by protestors, according to the NBC report.
Burger claimed the attacks were coordinated by rioters working with militant groups such as Antifa and the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, an anarchist group comprised of anti-fascist teenagers.
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