SEATTLE, WA - JULY 25: Police push demonstrators back atop a Black Lives Matter street mural in the area formerly known as CHOP during protests in Seattle on July 25, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Police and demonstrators clash as protests continue in the city following reports that federal agents may have been sent to the city. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
Protests continue over fight for racial equality
02:15 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Portland police have made at least 500 arrests during nightly protests since May 29, the department announced Thursday.

The protests, which have gone on for more than two and a half months, were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and have been driven by people demonstrating against racial inequality and police brutality.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has been responding to the nightly demonstrations, the department said in a press release.

Most of the demonstrations have been centralized around the Justice Center and other federal buildings in downtown Portland, information from PPB shows.

In addition, PPB reports responding to demonstrations at the Penumbra Kelly Building, North Precinct, Portland Police Association, East Precinct, Multnomah County Building (SE Hawthorne) and the ICE Building (South Portland).

During the period between May 29 and August 19, at least 17 riots have been declared, according to information released by Portland police.

In the release, the department also clarified how they classify the different disturbances.

“A Civil Disturbance is an unlawful assembly that constitutes a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic upon the public streets or when another immediate threat to public safety, peace or order appears,” the release said.

“A Riot is when six or more persons engage in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creating a grave risk of causing public alarm, excluding persons who are engaged in passive resistance,” the release continued.

Last month, the Trump administration sent federal agents into Portland, ostensibly to protect federal property, a move that local and state officials said had escalated the protests.

The Trump administration later reached an agreement with Oregon’s Democratic governor to withdraw federal officers from downtown Portland, though the Department of Homeland Security said it maintained a presence in the city until it thought federal locations in the city were secure.

Earlier this week, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said his department needs to “do a better job communicating” its intentions in the wake of a deployment of federal law enforcement officers.

“Lesson learned, is better communicating exactly who we are targeting. We are not targeting peaceful protesters, individuals exercising their First Amendment rights,” he told Axios on HBO in an interview that aired Monday night.

Tensions grew last month after federal officers arrived in the city.

“I don’t subscribe to the fact that we inflamed the violence there in Portland,” Wolf said.

CNN’s Chandler Thornton contributed to this report.