Police officers placed hoods and earmuffs on protesters while cutting 'sleeping dragons'

Protest outside Portland ICE building - KATU photo from reporter Jason Nguyen

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police said they placed hoods and earmuffs on protesters at Portland’s Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) building Wednesday to protect them while officers cut off the “sleeping dragons” they used to link themselves together.

Portland Police Bureau officers responded to 4310 Southwest Macadam Avenue at 2:44 p.m. Wednesday to find 20 to 30 protesters blocking the entrance and exit to the ICE building.

The Federal Protective Service told officers that there were more than 50 people inside the building and in their cars who needed to leave for the day and others who needed to enter the building.

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However, the protesters, linked together with sleeping dragons, blocked access to the building.

Protesters use the devices to link themselves together to block a particular area.

In this case, police said they were blocking the building’s entrance and exit and its driveway.

To use sleeping dragons, people place their hands inside a pipe and lock their arms and wrists together using handcuffs, chains, carabiners, or other methods. Police said the pipe is often wrapped in materials that make it extremely difficult to cut.

Often, sleeping dragons are made of cast iron, metal or plastic pipes, concrete, tar, chicken wire, duct tape, feces and chains.

Officers don’t know what’s in the sleeping dragons until they begin cutting and disassembling them.

Police often need to use power tools to cut off the sleeping dragons. They say this puts protesters at risk because the metal could create sparks.

Because of this, officers put hoods and earmuffs on the protesters Wednesday to protect them during the cutting process.

The sleeping dragons at the protest Wednesday were made of plastic pipe, yarn, fabric, chicken wire, steel bolts, and chains. The protesters connected their arms inside the pipes with chain.

As officers removed additional layers of the sleeping dragons, they determined they would not require power cutting tools.

Once they finished cutting them, they took the hoods and earmuffs off the protesters.

After officers removed the protesters, people could leave the ICE building. Police said some people had been waiting in their cars for an hour and a half.

Officers arrested 37-year-old Eli Richey at the protest for violating his court-ordered restrictions.

Portland police said the sleeping dragon training comes from the Center for Domestic Preparedness, which is operated by FEMA.

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