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Pepsi cans thrown at officers, 25 arrested as Portland May Day protest turns into riot

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The Portland Police Bureau said it arrested 25 people after a May Day protest turned into a riot in which suspects set fires, broke windows, spray-painted a police car and threw a full can of Pepsi that struck a paramedic.

Police accused the arrested of disorderly conduct, riot, arson, criminal mischief, theft and assault.

Among the 25 arrested, three were juveniles who police released to their respective parents. The 22 adults face charges of rioting, disorderly conduct in the second degree, resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer, and could face additional charges.

“Early in the march, which was scheduled to travel through downtown Portland and return to Shemanksi Park, rocks and projectiles were being launched at police officers and paramedics, including a full Pepsi can that struck a Portland Fire & Rescue paramedic,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement on Monday. “Shortly after that, the situation devolved into a full-scale riot with random acts of vandalism to downtown businesses, cars, and public and private property.”

Police said rioters set fires in the street and in garbage can, vandalized and spray-painted a police car, and attempted to set at least one business on fire. The rioters threw objects at police or firefighters such as rocks, bottles, ball bearings, fireworks, smoke bombs and road flares, police said.

Authorities revoked the permit for the May Day rally 90 minutes after the march began and told everyone to leave the area. Police said it used “limited deployments” of non-lethal weapons during the riot, such as flash bangs grenades.

The Portland May Day Coalition, which organized the protest, said late Monday that “Portland police chose to violently escalate a peaceful march.”

“There will be a lot of articles about ‘the march turning violent’ but make no mistake, the PPB attacked a permitted march whose only goal was to keep moving along its planned route because some noisemakers and name-calling were enough of an excuse for them to use their large surplus of explosives and chemical weapons against those who had committed to rise, resist, and unite, against fascism and capitalism,” the organization said in a statement.

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