PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear gassed by the U.S. government late Wednesday as he stood at a fence guarding a federal courthouse during another night of protest against the presence of federal agents sent by President Donald Trump to quell unrest in the city.
Wheeler, a Democrat, said it was the first time he’d been tear gassed and appeared slightly dazed and coughed as he put on a pair of goggles someone handed him and drank water.
He didn’t leave his spot at the front, however, and continued to take gas. Around Wheeler, the protest raged, with demonstrators lighting a large fire in the space between the fence and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and the pop-pop-pop of federal agents deploying tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the federal agents knew Wheeler was in the crowd when they used the tear gas.
Earlier in the night, Wheeler was mostly jeered as he tried to rally demonstrators who have clashed nightly with federal agents but was briefly applauded when he shouted “Black Lives Matter” and pumped his fist in the air.
The mayor has opposed federal agents’ presence, but he has faced harsh criticism from many sides and his presence wasn’t welcomed by many, who yelled and swore at him.