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25 Jul, 2020 11:40

Strobe lights, electric saws & glass bottles: Portland protesters expand weapons arsenal in ongoing clashes with police (VIDEOS)

Demonstrators in downtown Portland are using a range of weapons in their nightly skirmishes with law enforcement officers, and their growing arsenal now includes everything from leaf blowers to lasers.

Ropes and electric saws

Protesters tried out some new tactics during the latest fracas. Footage shows a group of helmeted, masked activists using an electric saw to break apart the fence used to protect the city’s besieged federal courthouse. The operation appeared to be well-coordinated, with several demonstrators using shields to protect the individual using the saw. 

There was further evidence that demonstrators have become more organized. A team of protesters was spotted pulling on two ropes that had been attached to the fence. However, it’s unclear whether their efforts produced the desired result.

High-powered lights

For weeks, protesters have utilized high-powered lights to disorient and blind police. In a clip posted to Twitter, demonstrators shine what appears to be a strobe light into the faces of law enforcement personnel standing behind the courthouse fence. One protester deployed a disco light during Friday’s skirmish, although it’s unclear whether it served a tactical purpose or was just for show.


Some weapons in the protesters’ arsenal are crude but still have the potential to be extremely dangerous. Demonstrators have been filmed and photographed hurling all kinds of projectiles at law enforcement personnel. According to the Portland Police, items that have been thrown at officers include glass bottles and ball bearings.

Leaf Blowers

Leaf blowers made their debut appearance in downtown Portland earlier this week. Protesters have used the seemingly benign gardening tool to reroute tear gas fired by federal agents. It appears that law enforcement officers have adopted the same tactic, with videos emerging on Friday of “leaf blower wars” between police and activists.


Similar to high-powered lights, lasers have been used by protesters to obscure the vision of cops and federal agents operating in the city. Footage from Friday night shows a powerful purple laser being shone directly in the eyes of an officer standing guard behind the courthouse fence. Earlier, the White House claimed that three federal officers “were likely left permanently blinded” by lasers during clashes with Portland protesters. 

Spray Paint

Much of downtown Portland has been covered in graffiti, but spray paint has also been used as an offensive weapon. On several occasions, demonstrators have used paint to destroy or vandalize security cameras. In one video, what appears to be a paintball or BB gun was used to knock a camera out of commission.


Arson has become a go-to tactic for demonstrators laying siege to the federal courthouse. Footage posted to social media shows several fires being lit outside the building. Fires have also been used to target Portland’s police union office, as well as seemingly innocent landmarks. An elk statue was so badly burnt by demonstrators that the city decided to remove the sculpture.

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