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Authorities prepared for Election Day as protests begin

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Elected officials and authorities in the Pacific Northwest have prepared for potential unrest as protests in Portland, Oregon, Seattle and in smaller cities were expected on Election Day.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has the National Guard on standby as Oregon's largest city has seen near nightly protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Hundreds of people were marching through Portland Tuesday evening, chanting among other things, “This is what democracy looks like.” Organizers said the demonstration would be peaceful, and that regardless of the presidential election result, they would continue demonstrating in support of racial justice, KPTV reported.

Demonstrations at times have ended in vandalism, arson and clashes with officers. President Donald Trump’s call for a crackdown on protests in Democratic-led cities has attracted right-wing groups to Portland for “law and order” rallies and pro-Trump events.

“I want to be very, very clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated," Brown said on Monday.

In Washington, the Office of Police Accountability in Seattle encouraged the Seattle Police Department “to allow demonstrators to freely exercise their First Amendment rights” and advised demonstrators to protest peacefully.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday she knows people have questions about what could happen in Seattle on Election Day and the days following.

“In one of the most challenging years in our city’s history, we have a president that has consistently incited hate, fear, and violence," Durkan said. "This is why my office has been closely coordinating with the Governor, County Executive, and City departments for a safe and secure Election Day and planning for the days that follow.”

Durkan said law enforcement agencies do not have any intelligence to indicate there are any specific threats.

People prepare to march on the night of the election, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)