US Attorney General defends deploying federal agents to Portland – BBC News

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US Attorney General William Barr has defended the deployment of federal agents to cities, saying they are needed to counter violent rioters.

In heated testimony to Congress, Mr Barr said protesters in Portland, Oregon, are committing “an assault on the government of the United States”.

The Democrat-led hearing covered a wide range of controversial actions from Mr Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

This was Mr Barr’s first committee testimony in his 17 months on the job.

Portland has been the scene of 61 consecutive nights of protests, sometimes violent, triggered by the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police in May.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler was among the Democrats to accuse the DOJ of sending agents to an ongoing protest at a federal courthouse in Portland – as well other cities in an action dubbed “Operation Legend” by the White House – to aid Mr Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Several mayors of major US cities have told the federal government to immediately withdraw from the targeted cities.

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In This Story: George Floyd

George Floyd was an African-American man who died on 25th May 2020 in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, following police arrest. Video recording by a witness, showing Floyd repeating “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, and “Don’t kill me”, was widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by media. The incident led to widespread protests across the United States.

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