A Catholic church in downtown Portland, Oregon — known for helping the area’s poor — suffered shattered windows during a riot Wednesday night that saw nearly a dozen protestors arrested.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Nov. 4 shared photos of shattered glass doors at the entrance to Saint André Bessette Catholic Church, located in Old Town Portland.
Sometimes known as the “Downtown Chapel,” Saint André Bessette has occupied several locations in the downtown Portland area since 1919. The present location, which the church has occupied since 1971, includes a drop-in center, a kitchen, and showers and washing machines for the homeless.
The protest began as a “Defend Democracy” rally, local news reported as election results were being reported.
According to police, two protest groups met in separate locations Wednesday evening, then marched through Portland. A group of about 100 people moved along West Burnside Street, breaking windows as they moved.
Police in Portland declared the protest Wednesday night a riot, and arrested at least 11 people. One of the people arrested had a rifle, several magazines of ammunition, an improvised explosive device, a knife and spray-paint cans, police said.
Gov. Kate Brown also activated the Oregon National Guard to assist with suppressing the riot. Brown released a statement Nov. 5 condemning the violence, specifically mentioning the damage done to St. André’s by a “group of self-styled anarchist protesters…with no discernible goal other than to cause violence and vandalism.”
“They shattered the windows of a church that feeds Oregonians in need, a women-owned and operated business that raises money for immigrant and women’s rights, and many other storefronts,” Brown said Nov. 5. “Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing.”
From KOIN TV:
Staff at a church in downtown Portland have suspended worship services and their outreach programs for the homeless after someone smashed a window during a Wednesday night riot.
Surveillance video shows a crowd of protesters, all wearing black, march past Saint Andre Bessette Church on West Burnside Street when one person rushes up to a door and repeatedly hits the glass with what appears to be a hammer. A homeless person sleeping on the doorstep hurries away as the glass shatters.
“The act of one person has prevented us from providing for hundreds of people.”
Surveillance video shows crowd marching on W Burnside last night. About 15 sec in someone comes up & smashes the windows @ Saint Andre Bessette Church.
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— Jacquelyn Abad (@JacquelynAbadTV) November 5, 2020