Trump says fed agents to stay in Portland until police 'cleanup'

Officials warned a full withdrawal depended on the security situation improving 'significantly'

Army veterans join a protest against racial inequality and police violence in Portland, Oregon, U.S., July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

US federal officers will stay in Portland until local law enforcement officials finish a "cleanup of anarchists and agitators", President Donald Trump said on Friday.

Federal agents began a staged withdrawal from the city in the state of Oregon that has been rocked by anti-racism demonstrations.

Portland police cleared parks and roads around the city centre on Friday in anticipation of the pullout by federal forces.

City mayor Ted Wheeler said the operation was part of the agreement for federal officers to leave.

But the timing was also questioned this week by acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who said a full withdrawal depended on the security situation improving significantly.

Hundreds were still on the streets of Portland on Sunday morning, without any federal law enforcement in sight.

This month, the Trump administration sent federal tactical teams, many wearing combat-like gear, to intervene in the city after weeks of protests against racism and police brutality led to windows being broken and graffiti scrawled on the federal courthouse and other buildings.

But their arrival inflamed the situation, especially after videos showed protesters being snatched off the street by federal agents and put into unmarked cars.