(New York, NY) — Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles and detaining demonstrators in the Portland area since mid-July. PEN America’s Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. free expression programs, said the following:

“Unidentified federal officials snatching individuals off the street and throwing them in unmarked vans because they may have participated in a constitutionally protected protest is an astonishing act of government repression that should send a chill down the spine of every American. Such tactics do nothing for public safety but instead represent a secret-police-level affront to free speech and freedom of assembly. The federal government must explain immediately why these incidents occurred and ensure they do not happen again.”

Read PEN America’s comprehensive report on efforts to criminalize protest, Arresting Dissent