Federal officers arrested eight protesters Wednesday at the Occupy ICE PDX camp in southwest Portland.
A spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says protesters were arrested for obstruction and failing to comply, among other charges.
Federal agents threw pepper balls and pepper spray at protesters who were blocking a vehicle attempting to leave the facility.
Video footage of the arrests shows protesters being pushed to the ground while agents deployed the balls and spray.
Robert Sperling, a spokesperson with the Department of Homeland Security, said protesters received multiple warnings to move away from the driveway of the ICE facility.
“Demonstrators continued to obstruct the driveway contrary to the prearranged agreement made between their organizers, the Federal Protective Service, and others,” Sperling said.
Sperling said an agreement was made after the department worked to reopen the temporarily-shuttered ICE facility in late June. According to Sperling, protesters agreed not to obstruct government activity in exchange for a more “relaxed atmosphere” and police presence. In an emailed statement, OccupyICEPDX said no such agreement was ever made.
“We did not and have not ever made any agreements with DHS and Federal Protective Services to not obstruct government activity in exchange for a more ‘relaxed atmosphere and police presence,’” the statement read. “We do not negotiate with fascists, and our police liaison is only there to relay demands for them moving out of the road that is blocking access to OHSU and hospital services.”
Sixteen people have been arrested at the camp since the occupation first began June 17. The protest was a response to federal immigration policies that led to the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.