Protesters in Portland smash windows and try to set Starbucks on fire in election eve demonstrations

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Protests in Portland continued on the eve of the election on Monday as BLM demonstrators destroyed a Starbucks and clashed with police.

At least two people were arrested amid the violence during which windows at Portland State University’s public safety office were smashed.

Protesters also threw a flammable liquid inside the Starbucks, whose walls were graffitied with ‘BLM’ and ‘ACAB’.

Protests in Portland continued on the eve of the election on Monday as BLM demonstrators destroyed a Starbucks and clashed with police

Protests in Portland continued on the eve of the election on Monday as BLM demonstrators destroyed a Starbucks and clashed with police

At least two people were arrested amid the violence during which windows at Portland State University's public safety office were smashed

At least two people were arrested amid the violence during which windows at Portland State University’s public safety office were smashed

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said they stopped the ‘possible arson’ and declared an unlawful assembly, ordering the group to leave.

Protesters had gathered in a park at 9pm and marched together chanting the name of Jason Washington, a black man shot and killed by PSU campus police in 2018.  

Unrest has gripped the Oregon city for more than 100 days following the death of George Floyd, and it has become a symbol of the US’s stark divisions.

It comes as the FBI warned of the potential for more armed clashes in Portland linked to the US election, with the National Guard being readied for riots.

Protesters threw a flammable liquid inside the Starbucks, whose walls were graffitied with 'BLM' and 'ACAB'

Protesters threw a flammable liquid inside the Starbucks, whose walls were graffitied with ‘BLM’ and ‘ACAB’

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said they stopped the 'possible arson' and declared an unlawful assembly, ordering the group to leave

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said they stopped the ‘possible arson’ and declared an unlawful assembly, ordering the group to leave

Protesters had gathered in a park at 9pm and marched together chanting the name of Jason Washington, a black man shot and killed by PSU campus police in 2018

Protesters had gathered in a park at 9pm and marched together chanting the name of Jason Washington, a black man shot and killed by PSU campus police in 2018

The fiercely polarized vote, which could see President Donald Trump reelected, or defeated by his Democratic rival Joe Biden, has spurred fears of more deadly street violence.

Downtown businesses were boarding up windows once again as protests are planned for either a Trump or a Biden win, or even a state of limbo, with delays in the vote-counting expected nationwide due to a surge in mail-in voting during the pandemic.

‘The thing that is the most concerning to me is the potential for armed clashes between opposing groups,’ FBI Portland Special Agent Renn Cannon told AFP.

Protesters with the right-wing Proud Boys and other similar groups have highlighted the deadly shooting of a protestor in Portland

Protesters with the right-wing Proud Boys and other similar groups have highlighted the deadly shooting of a protestor in Portland

‘That could escalate into a dangerous situation where, if tempers are heated, you could end up with an unfortunate or tragic act of violence,’ he added, pointing to a deadly shooting of a far-right supporter in the city in August.

The 250-strong Portland office has devoted additional resources to election crimes including voter suppression as well as fraud and foreign cyber threats, said Cannon.

Meanwhile Governor Kate Brown on Monday issued an executive order handing Portland policing to state forces, effectively overruling the city’s ban on tear gas, and putting the National Guard on standby.

‘This is an election like no other in our lifetime,’ she warned.

Brown’s warnings about white supremacists have drawn scorn from local conservatives including talk-radio host Lars Larson, who Monday accused her of ‘deafening silence’ about ‘Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence’ over five months of protests.

But while Oregon is a safe Democratic state, Portland’s Republican hinterland has made it a focus for protests from all ideologies, with further demonstrators flying in from across the country this summer.

Oregon Police have squared off with Portland protesters through tear gas during protests in recent months

Oregon Police have squared off with Portland protesters through tear gas during protests in recent months

FBI agents are being ‘extra attentive’ to any threats that could ‘reduce the ability for people to exercise their first amendment rights or exercise the right to vote,’ said Cannon.

Officials’ fears of renewed violence were echoed by voters Monday, including restaurant cook Leigh Smith.

‘I’ve seen everybody’s boarding up already and I’m like ‘oh geez,” said the 35-year-old, after mailing her ballot near the downtown courthouse that became an epicenter of earlier demonstrations.

‘It’s really a wild card situation. It could be really chill… it could become chaotic.’

One cause for optimism is that Oregon votes entirely by mail, making lengthy voting lines that could be targeted unlikely on Tuesday, said Cannon.

Of greater concern are multiple protests planned in Oregon for the aftermath of a vote which may not yield a result for days or even weeks, he added.

‘Whether or not those will have an armed component or not, I don’t know,’ said Cannon, with no specific threats currently identified.

One group organizing a rally, the left-wing Democratic Socialists of America’s Portland branch, told AFP it was ‘prepared for right-wing street violence to express frustration about their candidate not winning’ if Joe Biden triumphs.

Black Lives Matter protests have continued in Portland, Oregon since the summer

Black Lives Matter protests have continued in Portland, Oregon since the summer

‘It’s our duty to show up and counter them,’ said co-chair Olivia Katbi Smith, adding that if protesters fail to mobilize in numbers, militias ‘will actually drive around and assault people.’

DSA Portland does not advocate for armed response to right-wing extremists, she added.

If Trump tries to claim an illegitimate victory, Katbi Smith hopes liberal groups will bring out protest numbers approaching the tens of thousands who attended Portland’s 2017 women’s rights march.

‘We’re going to go forward with specific demands about democracy,’ said Katbi Smith, including Trump’s removal or a new vote.

She added: ‘There will be right-wing mobilizations against us after the election.’

America boards up ahead of election storm

Tuesday’s presidential election has the nation on edge and business and property owners in some of America’s major cities are taking no chances in case violence spills out into the streets.

Workers were seen this weekend all across the country boarding up store fronts, business offices, restaurants, banks, hair salons, and other places of commerce as law enforcement warned of possible unrest on Tuesday night.

Business owners are eager to avoid a repeat of the turmoil that followed the May 25 police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – an event that triggered nationwide rioting and looting.

The above image shows a Dolce and Gabbana store in the SoHo section of Lower Manhattan after it was boarded up this weekend

The above image shows a Dolce and Gabbana store in the SoHo section of Lower Manhattan after it was boarded up this weekend

A man walks past a boarded-up window at a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco on Sunday. Officials in California are concerned over possible violence on Election Day

A man walks past a boarded-up window at a Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco on Sunday. Officials in California are concerned over possible violence on Election Day

Several retailers are seen above after they were boarded up in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday

Several retailers are seen above after they were boarded up in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday

A man walks by a boarded up building in Washington, DC, on Friday as stores, businesses, and offices prepare for possible election-related unrest

A man walks by a boarded up building in Washington, DC, on Friday as stores, businesses, and offices prepare for possible election-related unrest

Workers boarded up a branch of Santander Bank on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday

Workers boarded up a branch of Santander Bank on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday

Retailers have been on edge after raiders earlier this year smashed windows, stole merchandise and, at times, set stores ablaze in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and other US cities.

In New York City, the Guardian Angels, a volunteer nonprofit that patrols communities to prevent crime, plans to be out in the streets on Election Night to protect neighborhoods and look out for rioting and looting.

‘We anticipate like a lot of New Yorkers that one side or the other may not be happy with the outcome of November 3rd … but more importantly there are looters and thugs with no political identity who may take advantage of the situation and riot and loot again,’ Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa told WABC-TV.

In New York City, boards went up over many Fifth Avenue storefronts over the weekend.

A woman is seen above walking by a boarded up Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday

A woman is seen above walking by a boarded up Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday

Several popular brand stores on New York's Fifth Avenue were boarded up over the weekend, including the NBA's flagship store

Several popular brand stores on New York’s Fifth Avenue were boarded up over the weekend, including the NBA’s flagship store

Locals walk by a boarded up Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday. The stores were boarded up in anticipation of election-related unrest

Locals walk by a boarded up Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday. The stores were boarded up in anticipation of election-related unrest

A T-Mobile store in Times Square is seen above on Sunday after workers boarded it up over the weekend

A T-Mobile store in Times Square is seen above on Sunday after workers boarded it up over the weekend

A man walks by a Guess shop on Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday

A man walks by a Guess shop on Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday 

A woman is seen above jogging by a Dolce & Gabbana location on Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday

A woman is seen above jogging by a Dolce & Gabbana location on Fifth Avenue in New York City on Sunday

A Bergdorf Goodman store on Fifth Avenue is boarded up on Sunday as a couple walks by the location

A Bergdorf Goodman store on Fifth Avenue is boarded up on Sunday as a couple walks by the location

The Plaza Hotel, a New York City landmark, was also boarded up in anticipation of possible unrest on Election Day

The Plaza Hotel, a New York City landmark, was also boarded up in anticipation of possible unrest on Election Day

The above image shows the entrance to the Plaza Hotel, which is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South

The above image shows the entrance to the Plaza Hotel, which is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South

Another popular brand name, Bloomingdale's, boarded up its store in New York City on Sunday

Another popular brand name, Bloomingdale’s, boarded up its store in New York City on Sunday

The image above shows American Eagle and Aerie Stores boarded up in New York City on Sunday

The image above shows American Eagle and Aerie Stores boarded up in New York City on Sunday

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