Portland police: Review needed after protest by antifa, far-right groups

A scene from a Patriot Prayer rally that took place on the Portland waterfront over a year ago

A scene from a Patriot Prayer rally that took place on the Portland waterfront over a year ago. Doug Brown

Gibson, a Republican Senate candidate in Washington, has a track record of provoking intense counter-protests at his rallies. Some chanted "Nazis go home". "Then without warning, the cops shot stun grenades into the anti-fascist crowd and started forcing people to disperse", the organisation said, pointing to Portland's police as 'the ones who escalated and created a risky situation'.

Groups marched through the streets of downtown Portland, police used flash-bangs in an effort to disperse the crowds and the situation was declared a "civil disturbance" by the Portland Police Bureau after officers said projectiles were thrown, including bottles and rocks.

Officers stood in the middle of the four-lane boulevard, essentially forming a wall to keep the two sides separated.

In addition to Antifa, the counter-protesters were made up of a coalition of labor unions, immigrant rights advocates, and democratic socialists. They included people dressed as clowns and a brass band blaring music. Two previous events ended in bloody fistfights and riots.

This time, Gibson changed the venue from a federal plaza outside U.S. District Court to a waterfront park so some of his OR supporters can carry concealed weapons as they demonstrate.

Instead of amplifying the message of single-payer health care, preserving the environment, or bringing affordable housing to our communities, the progressive counter-protests in Portland last weekend ensured that Gibson continues to get his face in the news.

Protesters saw a significant police presence that included bomb-sniffing dogs and weapons screening checkpoints.

Using a Portland Police Bureau sound truck, an officer told people gathered in and around Tom McCall Waterfront Park that no firearms were allowed, and that officers would use reasonable force to curtail any "assaultive behaviour".

Saldaña suggested that an opposing event in a different part of town could be a more effective counter-protest.

34-year-old Joseph C Evans was arrested near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Jefferson Street on charges of Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. "These items may be confiscated by officers".

He called on people there to disperse, adding that failure to do so could result in arrest, citation, or being the subject of "the use of riot control agents or impact weapons".

KOIN anchor and investigative reporter Dan Tilkin posted pictures on social media that showed people demonstrating. A handful of leftist groups have organized a counter action on Facebook, "Resist Patriot Prayer: Violent Alt-Right Bigots Off Our Streets".

The coalition said in a statement Friday that the bloodshed could be worse than previous clashes between the sides if participants carry guns Saturday.

Self-described anti-fascists - or "antifa" - have been organizing to confront Patriot Prayer and an affiliated group known as the Proud Boys.

"I refuse to do what Portland wants me to do because what Portland wants me to do is to shut up and never show up again".

Street fighting between the right-wing and antifa erupted at a Patriot Prayer march in Portland, Ore., on June 30.

Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer then delivered a speech and led a march through downtown.

Left-wing and anti-fascist groups decried the police response as heavy-handed, accusing the officers of nearly exclusively targeting the counter-demonstrators. The group has a permit to bring their free speech and guns to City Hall Plaza next Saturday, August 18, with a rally they are calling "Liberty or Death - Rally Against Left Wing Violence".

Four people have been arrested following rallies by right-wing groups and counter-protesters in the USA city of Portland, Oregon, on Saturday.

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