Sunday May 5th saw a peaceful, but well armed, group of supporters for President Trump exercise their right to free speech end in mass arrests by Portland, Oregon police. It was not exactly unforeseen, in fact, the city’s mayor had asked the group to cancel their legally permitted gathering and when they refused, he even contacted the feds to get them to pull the permit.
But Federal authorities refused saying it would be a violation of their right of free assembly. However, the Feds did supply the city government with additional police officers to contain any situation. As it turned out, that was a good idea, because the event quickly degenerated into confrontation, between Police and ANTIFA supporters.
In fact, police eventually arrested 14 people Sunday and confiscated several weapons during a day of opposing rallies in downtown Portland, Oregon. The Trump rally and ANTIFA groups drew thousands of people to the two parks while offices tried to keep the groups apart. While Officers posed for pictures with the Trump supporters, the ANTIFA socialists started throwing bottles, rocks and bricks at the peaceful conservatives across the street while yelling insults and adding numerous finger gestures.
Police detained a large group of protesters and others who were marching after they had to be removed from Chapman Square where the supposed anti-fascist group was being held. Eventually police were forced to close their event and detained several demonstrators, including journalists because of their actions and threats against the supporters of President Trump.
Police had warned both groups that they would arrest those who participated in criminal activity. While the conservative group assured the officers that they had no intention of starting trouble, that was not the case with the ANTIFA followers. The altercation with police came after several hours of relative peace from the initial rallies that started about noon PDT.
Police were forced to use “impact weapons and chemical munitions” (rubber bullets, batons and tear gas) after ANTIFA protesters threw objects at them. Police said the ANTIFA protesters threw bricks, mortars and balloons filled with “unknown, foul-smelling liquid,” at both officers and the Trump supporters. Police said it was only the ANTIFA that had engaged in criminal behavior. The crowds at Terry Schrunk Plaza, where the pro-Trump rally organized by conservative group Patriot Prayer occurred, and City Hall where the counter-protest organized by immigrant rights, religious and labor groups, were not involved, police said.
The counter-protesters filled the steps of City Hall and held signs, some of which read “Our city is greater than hate” and “Black Lives Matter.” Some chanted “love, not hate” and “Go home, fascists.”
In a statement ahead of the rally, the Rev. Diane Dulin of the United Church of Christ said, “We build our hope and our stamina for justice by showing up.” “It’s okay to be a conservative in Portland”