After being served notices to vacate the premises two days in a row, the far-left antifa “occupiers” who have set up camp outside of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Portland, Oregon, have geared up for a confrontation with police. Literally. Activists donned goggles and masks and held shields Tuesday after Federal Protective Service agents handed out the notices, again warning them not to block entrances or hinder operations of government employees.
“It is unlawful under federal law to obstruct the entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, offices and/or parking lots of federal facilities,” the flier reads. The occupiers have been camping around the facility for more than a week, prompting ICE officials to close the facility last Wednesday.
“Those who obstruct the entrance to the building face arrest and prosecution in federal court,” the flyer continues. Officials acknowledged they had no authority over nearby properties the Occupy camp has spread to.
By this past weekend, the ICE blockade had grown into a tent city with “more than 80 tents, four portable toilets, six couches, a commissary and a medic’s office,” according to Willamette Week.
The occupiers originally vowed to stay until the Trump administration revoked its “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Now they say they intend to stay until ICE removes its operations from the city.
After Six Days, Portland’s ICE Blockade Is a City of More Than 80 Tents
Occupy ICE now includes a medic’s office and a commissary, barricaded by wooden pallets. https://t.co/mb11O2XrGb
— Occupy Washington DC (@OWDC1) June 26, 2018
“The protest now closely resembles the Occupy Portland camps that seized two downtown parks in 2011,” Willamette Week reported.
— KATU News (@KATUNews) June 26, 2018
The lawless anarchists have powerful enablers, including the mayor of Portland, who has directed the police to keep their distance from the occupiers on city property.
Mayor Ted Wheeler says he considers the work of ICE agents “un-American.”
“We’ve seen tremendous support,” an occupation organizer told Willamette Week. “We’re seeing so much food. I don’t think anyone’s going hungry.”
Federal officers were able to enter the building during the overnight hours of Monday, according to Oregon Live, apparently sneaking past sleeping demonstrators.
With federal law enforcement agents inside the closed ICE building, it’s believed a showdown could happen at any time.
“People are going to do whatever it takes,” said Jacob Bureros, with Direct Action Alliance, an antifa group that helped organize the occupation. “If they arrest us on federal property, we’ll shut the roads down. You can’t stop us. They’re going to find out that this city has more resolve than they do.”
Bureros wasn’t concerned about the eviction notices.
“I’m assuming giving out notices was meant to intimidate people,” he said. “Federal charges sound scary and all of that. But they must live in a different world than we do. I don’t know how it’s supposed to discourage us when they’re kidnapping children and holding families in prison.”
Robert Sperling, a Federal Protective Service spokesman, told Oregon Live that “an undisclosed number” of federal agents remained inside the ICE building to maintain its security and that one of them on Monday fired a pair of “‘pepper balls’ into the ground as a warning to demonstrators who were trying to lock federal agents inside.”
He said the anarchists had used tape and rebar to barricade one of the building’s doors and “were effectively trying to trap individuals inside.”
Bureros denied the agency’s allegations, calling them “complete nonsense.”
They did put tape on door handles but didn’t use any rebar or other materials, he said, noting that demonstrators have constructed barricades on the sidewalk of the property in order to protect people from being struck by anything potentially thrown from the street.
Far-left protesters and even a few Democrats in Congress have called for the abolishment of ICE; meanwhile several other anti-ICE protests have popped up around the country.