Mayor of Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler said in an address Friday that "it's time to push back harder" against Antifa, following a violent clash with police in the city streets on New Year's Eve.
"My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical antifa and anarchists," Wheeler said to the press.
"It's time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community," he continued.
Wheeler, who has been timid to deal with the radical left-wing element in his city in the past, is now taking a stand against property destruction and violence against police in Portland.
"Why would a group of largely white, young and some middle-age men destroy the livelihood of others who are struggling to get by?" he asked.
Wheeler further said it was hard for him "to accept the reality that there are just some people on this planet who are bent on criminal destruction; that there are some people who truly just want to watch the world burn."
Mayor Wheeler's statement is made following two days of vandalism and violent clashes with law enforcement in Portland.
Reports say that law enforcement were attacked with commercial grade fireworks as well as molotov-cocktail-style firebombs on New Year's Eve, Breitbart reports. Rioters also attacked local businesses and the federal courthouse.
Mayor Wheeler and other Portland politicians have been criticized repeatedly in the past for their light touch approach on the emboldening left-wing militant presence in the city.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in July that Portland politicians were handing the city over to the mob.
"The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city," Wolf said in a statement.
Also in July, Antifa and other radical left-wing activists surrounded Mayor Wheeler at a Portland protest event. One protester can be heard shouting, "F##k Ted Wheeler," and "He doesn’t get to speak, he’s a f###ing fascist."