Considering how extreme things can get when federal troops interact with protesters late in the night, the hours leading up to it are very much the calm before the storm.
For nearly 2 months, protesters have taken to the streets in the thousands, demanding justice for George Floyd along with other victims of police brutality.
In the early hours of the night, virtually all protesters are peaceful. Many are seen carrying signs and engaging in conversation.
Some of the local residents who have come out say they have no dispute with people exercising their First Amendment rights. They are, however, displeased with the damage that has been inflicted on the city.
Business owner and local resident Fabian Gordon said: “I’m generally upset, obviously as you can see with all the destruction, I’m obviously unhappy with that. I’m unhappy with the impact of the economic future of this area. I’m very concerned. What happens in a few months to my city, when all this dies out, what’s left?”
As the night goes on, many people attending the protest prepare for the main event, when rioters use anything at their disposal to breach the federal courthouse and agitate the federal officers inside.
Protesters and Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler say last week’s arrival of federal officers worsened the situation.
But Gordon says he understands why federal officers were sent in.
“I don’t think they had a choice. I think our local leadership… leadership, that’s a good word. Incompetent, feckless… they were not leaders. Look, this never should have gotten anywhere near this level. I have no idea what our mayor is doing. I mean, literally, I don’t understand,” he said.