WATCH: Protesters block ICE agents from removing two wanted illegal immigrants amid 12hr standoff

Federal agents deployed non-lethal munitions, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse hundreds of protesters who were attempting to prevent the removal of two wanted Mexican illegal immigrants in Bend, Oregon.

What started with individuals standing in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) buses parked up ready to remove two arrested illegal immigrants quickly turned into a 12-hour standoff involving hundreds of demonstrators. 

Eyewitness footage from the scene shows heavily armed and masked federal agents moving detainees and struggling to control an irate crowd of protesters.

The crowd quickly grew from dozens to hundreds over the course of Wednesday afternoon, with cries of “Feds, go home!” filling the air before federal agents used non-lethal munitions at around 11pm local time. 

“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement.

“The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior,” she continued, adding that protesters at the scene had illegally interfered with the feds’ operations. 

Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz made clear that his officers were not involved, and described the incident as a “First Amendment event.”

On Twitter, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said of the action taken by the police that he had never “been so disgusted by my government.”

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One of the protest leaders, Luke Richter, who’s the president of Central Oregon Peacekeepers, an organization dedicated to the safety of the activist community, said, “If they’re going to take people from a sanctuary city, they need to have proper documentation of that. We’ve not seen any warrants for their arrest.”

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