Man drove car toward protesters at Oregon university, sprayed ‘some kind of pepper spray’: Police

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A man drove his car toward a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters at Portland State University (PSU) and sprayed a chemical agent like pepper spray before running away, police said Thursday night.

Police had clashed with protesters, arresting at least 30 people during a sweep of the university’s library after it had been occupied for several days.

Tensions came to a head Thursday, when protesters refused to leave the campus area and overtook the campus building for the second time. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers detailed their operation on social media platform X throughout the day.

According to a PPB post, PSU police “located the driver of a car who stopped near the crowd and sprayed some kind of pepper spray earlier this afternoon.”

“The adult male was transported to a local hospital on a police mental health hold,” PPB said.

The Hill has reached out to PSU and PPB for more information about the man who was driving the car.

It appeared that the car was then vandalized, its windows broken and item scattered nearby, a report by KATU2 said.

Officers began their operation to clear the campus library around 6 a.m. Thursday. PPB said officers were doing a “slow, methodical clear of the building” and experienced barricades at several points, mostly piled up furniture, and slippery floors “intended to cause police to slip and fall.”

Police also shared photos online of the inside of the building graffitied and tools that appeared to be “improvised weapons, ball bearings, paint balloons, spray bottles of ink, and DIY armor.” None of it was used on police, they said.

Later Thursday, police confirmed that trespassers pulled down a fence around the library and reentered the building. More arrests were made, including people who refused to leave the outdoor area next to the library.

The PSU protests mirror those happening on college campuses across the country, as students and community members call on their institutions to divest from Israeli companies or companies that supply weapons to Israel in its war against Hamas.

More than 2,000 arrests have been made nationwide since the college encampments began. At Columbia University, hundreds of police dressed in riot gear moved onto the campus after protesters occupied one of the campus buildings.

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