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Portland Police respond to a riot declaration on April 16 following an officer shooting a local man. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday asked residents to help "unmask" the people behind violence at protests in recent weeks, which grew in fervor after police fatally shot a white man at Lents Park.

What he's saying: “They want to burn, they want to bash, they want to intimidate, they want to assault,” Wheeler said in a Friday video statement, referring to violent protestors. "Our community needs to resume their lives. People need to go back to work. Employers need to be able to reopen."

  • "I support our police using all legal strategies, including kettling, when the appropriate circumstances and resources are available to do so without putting officers at risk of physical harm."
  • "Our job is to unmask them, arrest them, and prosecute them," he said. "I want to personally thank neighbors, family, friends, and others who have come forward with vital evidence. People know who these criminals are. They know what they're up to."

Wheeler faced backlash for urging residents to call the police if they see people who are "all dressed in all black" arriving at protests in cars. His office in a follow-up statement said he was referring to "those who engage in criminal actions."

Flashback: "Understand that doing damage to us, our communities, and our resources undoes the work we do," a group of Portland-based Black organizers and protesters wrote in an open letter last week, prior to Wheeler's statement.

  • The mayor appeared to reference the letter, saying: "If BLM leaders can show the courage to stand up to this mob, then we all should."

The other side: "They tried to make us look like we are against each other. We might not all agree on the ways that we protest or we fight, but we know that we must fight," said protester Kevin Wright at a demonstration Saturday with other Black community members in response to Wheeler's remarks.

Go deeper

Apr 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

6 police killings occurred in the 24 hours after verdict in Chauvin trial

Demonstrators gather outside a government building during an emergency city council meeting following the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

At least six police killings took place in the 24 hours after a verdict was reached in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, AP reports.

Why it matters: As many nationwide breathed a collective sigh of relief after a jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd, some of the six deaths prompted renewed calls for justice and an end to police violence.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
52 mins ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

2 hours ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.