Far-right activists and counter-protesters clash in northeast Portland
Far-right groups gathered in Portland on Sunday for an event they called the “Summer of Love,” even as the date for the rally was chosen to commemorate an extraordinarily violent clash last summer in the city. .
Anti-fascists and far-left protesters also gathered in the city center to oppose the rally. The two sides eventually clashed in northeast Portland after staying apart for hours.
Early in the day, organizers of the far-right event announced they were moving it from Waterfront Park in downtown to a commercial parking lot in northeast Portland. Hundreds of people from the anti-fascist group gathered at Waterfront Park, despite the move.
One of two events scheduled at Waterfront Park this afternoon has been moved by organizers to the Argay Terrace area and is not expected to be downtown. PPB will monitor activities at Waterfront Park and the other event location throughout the day. 1/5
– PPB event messages (@PPBAlerts) August 22, 2021
Far-right activists, meanwhile, set up a stage on a small trailer in the commercial parking lot along northeast 122nd Avenue.
Photos and videos posted online showed members of the Proud Boys – an often violent far-right group – rallying and speaking at the conservative event. Among them was Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who was convicted of committing acts of violence during protests.
“We are not going to withdraw,” Toese said. He added his band “weren’t playing this time,” but said they had no plans to leave the northeast Portland site on Sunday.
Various speakers on the Proud Boy stage called those indicted in the January 6 uprising on the United States Capitol as “political prisoners.”
Throughout the day, members of each camp exchanged words and struggled, but no noticeable violence had taken place during the early hours of the rallies. That changed just after 4 p.m., as the Proud Boys and anti-fascists raced along 122nd Avenue, exchanging paintballs, masses of bears and small explosive devices.
Video shown a local journalist injured in violence that lasted several minutes.
Portland Police did not show up as the two sides clashed.
The Portland Police Office has frequently cited staffing shortages as the reason larger contingents of officers cannot separate groups that have historically engaged in political violence.
“The Portland Police Office is ready to monitor this event and can make felony arrests when resources permit. It doesn’t always happen in the moment, ”the office said in a written statement Friday. “Just because arrests aren’t made at the scene, when tensions are high, doesn’t mean people won’t be charged with crimes later. “
The office is working with the Oregon State Police, the Sheriff’s Office and other local partners to respond to this weekend’s protests.
Speaking at an online “choose love” event Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other metro area leaders broadly condemned the political violence that has become routine in Portland.
When asked if unchecked political violence was inevitable, Wheeler said there were discussions online suggesting people were planning to come to Portland on Sunday specifically to fight.
“We tell them, ‘No, no,’ said Wheeler. “If they come here, if they engage in this type of activity, we’re going to do our best, with the resources we have, to empower people.
This is a developing story and may be updated.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.