Federal officers in riot gear moved to reopen an Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Oregon early Thursday following a blockade and occupation by protesters.
Eight protesters were arrested during the clash at the ICE facility in Portland, according to Federal Protective Service spokesman Rob Sperling.
The officers were brought in at around 5:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. ET), according to the Federal Protective Service.
“We have a number of officers with FPS, also law enforcement officers, who have pushed the demonstrators away from the main entry door,” Sperling told Reuters. “So we’ve cleared the main entrance point of the building and now we’re clearing debris.”
The Occupy Ice PDX protesters, rallying against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, had set up camp at the ICE building more than a week ago with the message, “Abolish ICE.”
Lillith Sinclar, a protest camp organizer, told NBC affiliate KGW that her group wants ICE removed from Oregon and abolished all together. A small but growing number of progressive Democrats are signing onto calls to abolish the agency in the wake of Trump’s immigration policies.
The ICE facility has been closed since June 20 after growing protests against Trump’s policy seeking to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally, leading to the continued separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.
Federal officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in riot gear and with batons. Protesters occasionally went up to the officers with signs and talked or yelled at them, some shouting profanities, but the scene did not appear to be violent. Others at the scene loudly played Latin music.
“How would you feel if somebody took your kids?” one protester asked the officers.
“You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” another protester said.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Daniella Silva