The day before a planned confrontation between leftist Antifa and right-wing groups, the leader of Patriot Prayer has been taken into custody.
Joey Gibson, who founded his group after witnessing a brutal melee between supporters of President Donald Trump and his detractors, surrendered himself to authorities at Portland’s Multnomah County Detention Center on Friday afternoon, The Oregonian reported.
The move comes only one day before Antifa and right-wing groups are set to clash in the center of Portland.
According to Gibson, he was still deciding whether to personally attend the rally when he discovered that he had an active riot charge stemming from a bar encounter in May.
Gibson says he is innocent and the charges are simply an attack against him.
“This is without a doubt an attack on the First Amendment,” Gibson said at a small news conference before entering MCDC. According to Gibson, he was the victim of the encounter.
The loss of Gibson comes as an expected major political clash looms over the city.
Portland police has warned residents to stay away from the area expected to contain the protests, issuing a red zone map of a large section of the city.
Antifa is not backing down. The extreme-left group put out a call to arms last month against planned rallies by Patriot Prayer and other groups.
While rallies attended by the anti-fascist group often are violent, officials are worried about the scale and rhetoric surrounding the upcoming meeting. President Trump even floated the possibility of naming the group an “organization of terror.”
Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.” Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2019
Groups opposing antifa include Patriot Prayer, Three Percenters, Proud Boys and several other right-wing groups. Rose City Antifa plans to “defend Portland against far-Right attack.”
This fearmongering appears to be part of a push to recruit more people, considering the flyers going up in the city.
Flyers are posted around Portland saying that “armed violent white supremacists” are here to target black, indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latin American, immigrant, religious minorities, disabled, houseless & LGBTQ people. It calls for organizing “self defense” groups. pic.twitter.com/C9sYLhoHWH
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) August 17, 2019
These ideological enemies are set to collide in Portland on Saturday.
While it’s possible the protests will remain peaceful, the heated rhetoric and political situation in our country make it more likely that violence will be a big part of Saturday’s planned rallies.
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