After reviewing federal cases between July 23 and July 27, CNN found that at least nine out of 21 defendants arrested for either failing to obey a lawful order or assaulting a federal officer were released on the condition they “not attend any other protests, rallies, assemblies or public gatherings in the state of Oregon,” several release documents said.

The wording varied slightly from order to order, however. One order only restricted the defendant from protests in Portland and another order forbid attending any public gatherings regardless of location. The nine orders banning defendants from protesting also forbid the accused from being within a five block radius of the federal courthouse in Portland, a focus of protests for weeks now.

Somil Trivedi, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, condemned the practice in a statement to CNN.

Homeland Security and Oregon reach deal to begin withdrawing federal agents from Portland

“The charges themselves are questionable enough, but this release condition is blatantly unconstitutional,” Trivedi said.

“The government cannot force you to relinquish your First Amendment rights as a condition for your freedom. Release conditions must be related to public safety or flight. This is neither.”

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security have arrested 94 people since July 4, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon said that the office “did not seek these additional restrictions.”

“We have only sought geographic — five blocks from the Hatfield Courthouse — and curfew restrictions,” Kevin Sonoff told CNN.

“The additional restrictions were added by the court.”

The legal wording comes as Portland demonstrators have rallied against systemic racism and police violence for nearly two straight months.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration sent federal law enforcement agents into Portland, ostensibly to protect the federal courthouse there. But their presence has escalated tensions and led to further clashes with demonstrators in the city.

The administration reached an agreement Wednesday with Oregon’s Democratic governor to withdraw the federal officers from Portland, though the Department of Homeland Security says it will maintain a presence in the city for the time being.

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