Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, and Antifa Square Off in Portland
See below for updates.
Police in Portland, Oregon, are bracing for violent clashes Saturday, as a rally being held by two right-wing groups is being counter-protested by violent "antifascist" (aka antifa) radicals determined to run them out of the city.
Some of the antifas have advised fellow activists on social media to “bring their own guns” to the rally.
The right-leaning Patriot Prayer group and the Proud Boys plan to march in the city's Tom McCall Waterfront Park in support of Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, who is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate.
Via Fox News:
This time, Gibson changed the venue from a federal plaza outside U.S. District Court to a waterfront park so some of his Oregon supporters can carry concealed weapons as they demonstrate. Chartered buses will bring participants from Vancouver, Washington -- where Gibson lives -- to downtown Portland with armed security on board.
The Portland Police Bureau said Friday that protesters should expect to see a significant police presence including bomb-sniffing dogs and checkpoints where weapon screenings will occur.
Antifa groups vowed on Facebook to fight the right-wing marchers with “militant resistance”:
“History has shown that militant resistance is a necessary and important tool in the fight against fascism,” the "Resist Patriot Prayer: Violent Alt-Right Bigots Off Our Streets" Facebook event page said. “We make no apologies for the use of force in keeping our communities safe from the scourge of right-wing violence.”
Two previous rallies in Portland this summer have ended in bloody fistfights and riots, with one counter-protester ending up in the hospital with a skull fracture. Some of these right-wingers fought back.
According to The Daily Caller, Patriot Prayer hired armed guards to accompany the protesters to Portland, though Gibson himself will not carry a gun.
“At the end of the day you can’t punch an ideology out of someone, you can only talk and learn and grow,” Gibson said, according to KOIN 6 News.
Antifa had a different message for its followers:
“The genocidal ideas they [Patriot Prayer] espouse and their belligerent tactics should not be dignified with a debate,” the group said on their Facebook page. “They need to be routed.”
We must be that front line. We may not be muscle bound gym rats, we certainly aren't the sort of sadistic bullies we are facing, but never the less we have to go out there and be the ones willing to physically protect people already under attack in our communities. We are regular people called to do extraordinary things. That is the historic moment we live in. So if you are someone that has the capability and the courage to be able to do this too we say to you: this is the time to act. Be prepared, be smart, but do not be a bystander.
We realize there are many valid reasons why people cannot necessarily engage in physical confrontation. There are plenty of ways to help besides that. Be a medic, stand together with others to create a shield that people can duck behind, create a distraction, cop watch. There are any number of creative things that can be done to help. But we all must work together. To defeat the rising tide of fascism in the US it is important that leftists of all stripes stand in solidarity. We encourage people to come out and show their opposition in whatever capacity they are able.
The march was scheduled to begin at noon Pacific time.
Portland Police on Saturday announced that "no one may possess an openly carried firearm" within the perimeters of the march.
Police have already confiscated a number of items from protesters.
Here are some live-streams of today's rally:
Update 5:31 p.m. EST: The police ordered the crowd to disperse after antifa threw projectiles at the police:
Police are announcing, "This is now a civil disturbance. You are ordered to disperse." Protesters who fail to obey their order will be subject to arrest.