Unidentified federal forces enter Portland, pull protestors into unmarked vans

Numerous videos shot in the last two days show unidentified armed agents driving around Portland, Oregon, in unmarked vans and forcing protesters into them. The Department of Homeland Securuity admits they sent them in, but local authorities say they have had no contact with the armed men and are not coordinating with them.

Senator Jeff Merkley posted his outrage at the presence of the mystery forces: "Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters," he wrote on Twitter.

The Portland Tribune:

"I am very concerned that I have seen these pictures (of federal officers) with no ID who are on the streets with camouflage and military-style equipment," he said. "Who are they? Were those U.S. marshals? What organization were they from? How many of them were on the street? Do their protocols allow them to shoot peaceful protesters with rubber bullets? I could get no answers.

"If they cannot be transparent with the public about their role and what they are doing, they should not be here at all. They are probably making the situation worse, rather than better."

Merkley said Driscoll would not discuss how the marshals are coordinating with Portland police — if at all — but promised someone would be designated as a liaison with police. Merkley said he got the impression that they are under a directive to do "whatever is needed" to defend federal buildings.

Some of those taken report being driven around aimlessly, and one reported that they were made to disembark in a building they were later told was the federal courthouse. Whether any have actually been arrested and charged is not clear; the agents' refusal to identify themselves or explain exactly why they are detaining people is one of the signatures of the reported incidents.

The lack of mainstream media coverage of this, especially given that Trump plainly stated he was planning to do it in other major cities, is alarming.