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Group links arms outside Portland ICE facility to protest raids, six arrests

Protest outside Portland ICE building - KATU photo from reporter Jason Nguyen

Demonstrators gathered Wednesday in front of Portland’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in the south waterfront district to protest raids against undocumented immigrants.

Police arrested six people after they said protesters delayed a bus leaving the facility headed to the detention facility in Tacoma, Washington.

Several in the group linked arms with duct tape in front of the building, which serves as a detention center for ICE. On the tape was written "STOP THE DEPORTATIONS."

Homeland Security officials closed down the eastbound lane of SW Bancroft Street. Other law enforcement agencies like Portland Police are also in the area.

At one point police put protesters in hoods with earmuffs. Police said they did so to protect the demonstrators as they cut them loose, as they said the protesters had employed "Sleeping Dragons" to link themselves together.

Portland police spokesman Sgt. Christopher Burley said the devices are often made of metal, plastic pipe, chicken wire, duct tape and chains. He said protesters Wednesday used plastic pipe, yarn, fabric, chicken wire, steel bolts and chains.

"As officers inspected the Sleeping Dragons today, they believed they were comprised of metal pipe and not plastic pipe," Burley said. "Had the pipe been made of metal, there would have been sparks created during the cutting process. That is why protective attire was placed on the protesters to ensure their safety during the cutting process."

The protest came nearly two weeks after ICE agents arrested 33 people in Portland as part of its "Safe City" operation.

Federal Protective Services released this statement on Wednesday evening:

“The Federal Protective Service is works to balance the peaceful exercise of free speech while ensuring employees and the business of the Federal Government can continue at Southwest Macadam Ave.”

This is a developing story; updates will be posted as information comes in.

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