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Over the weekend, journalists for the Associated Press were both outside, with the protesters, and inside the courthouse, with the federal agents, documenting the riots in Portland…

The Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were tired and frustrated. They didn’t want to confront the crowd; they just wanted to go home.

For weeks, the chaos at the courthouse had flipped their sleep schedules, turned their family lives upside down and left them scared each night that they would be hit by a firework or flare or blinded by a laser. Many were sent from out of town to reinforce the local agents — some are members of an elite Border Patrol tactical team sent in as reinforcements. But others were already stationed there and said they had chosen to live in the Portland area and call it home.

“You see a lot of commentary on social media about, ‘Well, they’re wearing protective gear so that it’s not going to hurt them.’ Okay, I’ll put the same protective gear on you and I’ll throw a brick at your head and you tell me if you feel comfortable with that,” said a senior U.S. Marshals Service official who’s overseeing the response in Portland.

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