By Gina Cherelus
(Reuters) – Federal officers on Thursday removed protesters from the entrance of an office used by immigration authorities in Portland, Oregon, breaking up a days-long demonstration against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, officials said.
Agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service (FPS) moved into the protest camp shortly after 5 a.m. local time to reopen the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility that has been blocked by demonstrators since last week, FPS spokesman Robert Sperling said on Thursday.
“We have a number of officers with FPS, also law enforcement officers, who have pushed the demonstrators away from the main entry door,” Sperling said. “So we’ve cleared the main entrance point of the building and now we’re clearing debris.”
It was not immediately clear if there were any arrests.
The so-called “Occupy ICE” protest began last week in Portland and spread to other U.S. cities, spurred by news and images of Central American children being separated from their parents after crossing the U.S. southern border under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” stance on illegal immigration, organizers said.
The protesters are calling for the abolishment of ICE, which was created in 2003 by Republican President George W. Bush in response to the attacks by al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001.
Sperling said some of the protesters in Portland were now setting up camp alongside the ICE facility, and that he expected the office to reopen by next week.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bernadette Baum)