Police broke up scuffles taking place between supporters of President Donald Trump and Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists demonstrating in Salem (Oregon) on Monday, September 7. Media sources indicate that approximately 100 Trump supporters gathered at the capitol building in Salem in a caravan of vehicles on Monday afternoon (local time) and were met by 20 BLM activists. Clashes ensued as the groups fired pepper spray and other projectiles at each other. Police officers had deployed to the area and reportedly intervened after the "American Lives Matter Rally group" charged at counter-protesters, arresting two people.
Monday reportedly marked the 102nd day of protests in nearby Portland, located approximately 72km (42 mi) north of Salem. Nightly protests in the city and its surrounding areas have previously turned violent. Demonstrations are expected to continue in the coming days and week. A heightened security presence is also anticipated and clashes cannot be ruled out.
Tensions and clashes between Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and counterprotesters have been recurrent in Portland for nearly three months.
Protests began worldwide after George Floyd died while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The four arresting police officers were subsequently fired and detained, and one has since been charged with second-degree murder. Protests spread to several cities across the US, with solidarity protests taking place throughout the world.
Tensions have been reignited by an incident in Kenosha (Wisconsin) on August 23, 2020, where Jacob Blake, an African American, was reportedly shot several times in the back by police officers while they were responding to an alleged domestic incident. Blake survived but was reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.
Those in Salem, and surrounding areas particularly Portland, are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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