A group of more than 100 black-clad rioters vandalized a Catholic church in Portland, Oregon, that regularly serves meals and provides shelter to the homeless, forcing the church to suspend worship services and all of its outreach to the needy.
St. Andre Bassette Church in downtown Portland, which is known for helping disadvantaged people in the area, suffered extensive damage after the violent attack Wednesday, The Post Millennial reported.
Three of the church’s front windows were smashed, after which all of its hospitality services had to be suspended, the news site said, adding that the National Guard had to be called in to control the rioters.
“Surveillance video shows a crowd of protesters, all wearing black, march past Saint Andre Bessette Church on West Burnside Street when one person rushes up to a door and repeatedly hits the glass with what appears to be a hammer,” KOIN 6 reported. “A homeless person sleeping on the doorstep hurries away as the glass shatters.”
The video also shows that after the homeless man was forced to flee, rioters stole his blanket and the few worldly possessions he had lying next to him.
Father Tom Gaughan was quoted as saying, “The building is compromised because of this. ... The actions of this one individual has forced us to cease our outreach and its hundreds of people we normally give food to, we are not able to because I don’t feel like my staff is safe.”
He added, “We ask for everyone’s prayers for peace in our streets which is so long overdue, and pray for our sisters and brothers who call the streets and shelters home. Because the act of one person has prevented us from providing for hundreds of people over the course of a week.”
Police have reportedly arrested a dozen people and confiscated weapons, including firearms.
Portland has witnessed street protests since May.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown responded to the vandalism of the church, saying, "They shattered the windows of a church that feeds Oregonians in need, a women-owned and operated business that raises money for immigrant and women’s rights, and many other storefronts. Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing."