Video of a Saturday night protest in Portland showed a protester catching fire as police declared the protest a riot and deployed tear gas. A video of the incident was uploaded to Twitter by user Tayler Hansen and has been viewed over a million times. The video shows a line of police in riot gear while the sound of glass shattering can be heard off-screen.
When the camera turns, a man is seen running away from a fire in the street with his legs on fire. The protester’s identity and the extent of his injuries are not known at this time.
Here are two videos showing different angles of the incident:
ANTIFA lights themselves on fire—
5 minutes into the March, officers attempted to put him out. pic.twitter.com/FVBoEeQJVH
— Tayler Hansen (@TaylerUSA) September 6, 2020
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 6, 2020
The video shows other protesters helping the man extinguish the flames, with some yelling, “stop, drop and roll” and telling him to take his shoes off. Many people tried to extinguish the flames by smothering them with their hands. The video also shows some police officers in riot gear approaching to help the protester but getting turned away.
The March Toward a Southeast Portland Police Precinct Had Just Begun When It Was Declared a Riot
In the same video showing the man catching fire, police can be heard declaring the protest a riot and ordering everyone to leave the area. Tear gas is also deployed by the police by the end of the minute-long video.
According to Twitter user Brendan Gutenschwager, who posted the second video of the protester on fire, the incident occurred just after 9 p.m. on Saturday night. He wrote, “Earliest I’ve ever seen it declared a riot. Teargas and fireworks already in full force, and this was just shortly after 9 pm in Portland.”
The Oregonian reported that as hundreds of protesters were leaving Ventura Park around 9 p.m. to march to a Southeast Portland police precinct, police blocked the way “for the safety of city employees, community members and nearby residents.” Soon after announcing that demonstrators could not march to the precinct, at least three Molotov cocktails were thrown toward police, the outlet reported, which led to the riot declaration.
Throughout the night, protesters and riot police clashed in various areas around Ventura Park as protesters attempted to make their way to the precinct. According to the Oregonian, police deployed tear gas for the first time this month, using it just minutes after declaring the protest a riot.
Saturday Night Was the 101st Consecutive Day of Protests in Portland
Portland has been the scene of protests every day since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, with the Saturday protests marking the 101st consecutive day. The day began with a rally of about 100 people at King School Park, the Oregonian reported, as well as a demonstration in southeast Portland with a local drumline.
According to the outlet, the march on Saturday night began as a peaceful rally at Ventura Park with a series of speakers who talked about the importance of keeping the pressure on officials to achieve police reforms.
As police turned marchers away, an officer explained on a loudspeaker that they had the “authority to place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on this event.” A Portland police spokesperson told the Oregonian that police have the authority to block access to certain areas in emergency situations, according to the city code.