During a conservative Patriot Prayer in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, marchers were attacked by Antifa supporters who had been openly mobilising for violence against a lawful rally. Then police moved in.
Portland police charged violent Antifa supporters, a mere two hours into a scheduled protest, moving in with batons drawn, stun grenades and pepper spray rounds, after self-described anti-fascists had been organising to confront Patriot Prayer and an affiliated group known as the Proud Boys.
CNN had been demonising the conservative rally as “racist neo-nazis” while praising Antifa in an effort to justify offensive violence to shut down the peaceful march, as FWM reported earlier.
Patriot Prayer supporters chanted “USA! USA!” and said the Pledge of Allegiance, while the other side shouted “fascists retreat” at the march taking place downtown and in Tom McCall Waterfront Park in the city.
But the Trump supporters, free-speech activists, and conservatives from all over the US made their voices heard in the face of leftist Antifa violence and intimidation, Infowars reported.
Saturday’s event was one of Patriot Prayer’s biggest to date in a series of over 30 events held in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. At the conclusion of the conservative marchers claimed victory. Their leader, Joey Gibson said that it was an “excellent day, excellent”.
According to police Antifa supporters were throwing missiles at their lines, the Guardian reported. Law enforcement, heavily armoured, ran toward Antifa supporters and continued to push them back.
“We aren’t here to fight the police,” an Antifa member screamed at the charging police. “We’re here to fight the Trump supporters.”
Calling themselves the “PopMob”, the counterprotersters included immigrant rights groups, labour groups, a Democratic Socialists of America chapter, and masked Antifa members clad in “black bloc” clothing.
They attacked police with rocks and allegedly threw urine and feces at Patriot Prayer marchers. A reporter for The Oregonian/OregonLive covering the march, Eder Campuzano, was injured when he was struck by a projectile on the head. He told local news outlet WTOP that the object “likely came from a counterprotester”. In a Tweet published on the newspaper’s website that he was “okay” and was going to get medical attention.
Eric Ward, executive director of civil rights organisation Western States Center, said counterprotesters made some “bad decisions” by bringing weapons, but the police charge “punished every counterprotester for the actions of a few”. Both sides at the march had been armed.
Patriot Prayer marchers chanted “lock them up, lock them up”.
No weapons searches were carried out on the Patriot Prayer group by police as they had kept their end of the bargain: Gibson had earlier told the Patriot Prayer group that he had struck a deal with police for his marchers not be searched in exchange for confining themselves to a barricaded area.
Black-clad goons were meanwhile filmed stealing a man’s American flag and hitting him in the head with a stick when he resisted.
Antifa supporters even brought along their own Nazi flag to the pro-America march in Portland in order to burn it, in support of their claim that they were marching against “Nazis”.
Freelance journalist Mike Bivins caught the scene on camera and reported that the masked Antifa individuals had refused to tell him where they got the flag from.
Portland police have not responded to requests for comment on their charge on Antifa supporters. The Portland Police Bureau however confirmed the arrest of four people during the protest.
The bureau said in a statement that officers also seized “multiple weapons throughout the day”. Before the march they had announced that they would not respond to non-emergency calls in the city because of the march.