President Donald Trump has stressed that those that harm federal buildings in demonstrations will receive a punishment of at least 10 years in prison.
Trump, responding to the news that the federal court building in Portland was set on fire by the protesters last Friday, has said: “Anarchists and vandals, provocateurs or protesters who harm any federal building in a state or a city as they did against the court in Portland, they will be judged under the recently passed Statues and Monuments Act.”
On the other hand, U.S. Attorney General William Barr noted this week that the attack on the federal courthouse during the Portland protests represents “an attack on the United States government.”
“What takes place every night near the court cannot reasonably be called ‘a protest’, by any objective measure, it is an assault on the United States Government,” he explained in the framework of his statements, prepared for his intervention before the Committee of the
House of Representatives on Tuesday, cited by various local media. Barr said protesters “barricaded the front door of the courthouse” over the past few nights and launched “fireworks at the building in an apparent attempt to burn it with federal personnel” inside it.
“The Government’s most basic responsibility is to guarantee the rule of law so that people can live their lives safely and without fear. The Department of Justice will continue working to fulfill that solemn responsibility,” he declared.
Trump sent a hundred federal agents to Portland, as well as cities such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan, as part of his “Operation LeGend” campaign to disperse the anti-racist protests, which intensified over the last weekend. The operation, which has been launched primarily in cities and states with Democratic mayors, has drawn intense scrutiny from Democratic leaders and anti-crime veterans for potentially violating civil liberties.