Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler admitted his policies in dealing with Antifa anarchists failed. He called for new enforcement actions and asked for federal and state assistance in dealing with the lawlessness.
“My good-faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler said in a New Year’s Day press conference. “In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”
“It’s time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community and to take more risks in fighting lawlessness,” the Portland mayor continued.
The mayor’s remarks follow violent attacks by Antifa on Portland Police Bureau officers and destruction of businesses in the downtown district on New Year’s Eve. The anarchists attacked their officers with commercial-grade fireworks and firebombs. Antifa rioters threw at least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs and launched multiple commercial-grade fireworks at Portland police as they attempted to defend the downtown business district and the federal courthouse.
“We should be clear what this was last night, it was about violence and criminal destruction, period,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said during the press conference.
Mayor Wheeler called upon federal, state, county, and local law enforcement partners to work with him to develop “clear plans to address anarchist violence.” He also asked the Oregon Legislature to increase the penalties for people who engage in repeated acts of criminal destruction and vandalism.