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US mayor of Portland bans the use of tear gas

The mayor of the protest-hit US city of Portland, Oregon overnight on Thursday ordered city police to stop using tear gas for crowd control purposes.

The northwestern city has endured more than 100 days of demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, has been fiercely criticised by “Black Lives Matter” and anti-fascist activists that have been in the streets since the death of George Floyd, the African-American man who died gasping for air under the knee of a white police officer in late May in the city of Minneapolis.

In his dual job as mayor and chief of police, Wheeler has been criticised for failing to meet commitments to reduce racial discrimination and police brutality, which demonstrators believe especially target racial minorities.

“It’s time for everyone to reduce the violence in our community. We all want change. We all have the opportunity and obligation to create change. We all want to focus on the fundamental issue at hand – justice for Black people and all people of color,” Wheeler said in a brief taped announcement.

“That’s why, as Police Commissioner, effective immediately and until further notice, I am directing the Portland Police to end the use of CS gas for crowd control,” he said.

During the last hundred days city, county and state police have relied on tear gas “where there is a threat to life safety. We need something different. We need it now”, Wheeler said. (AFP)

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